Here is a conversation I had with our night watchman.
It was 11 p.m. and I was yearning for a smoke. After putting Rekha to sleep (which is very easy), I slipped into my sandals and slipped out of the house. I needed a human being to make conversation…so I walked towards the night watchman even as I lit the cigarette. What better topic than cricket when the conversationalists are chalk and cheese (me..cheese).
Me: So, Ganguly is out.
Watchman: Out? Is a cricket match on?
(So saying he started switching on his transistor)
Me: No…no…I meant he would no longer be the captain.
Watchman: Serious? Why?
Me: You know right…he has not been performing with the bat and his captaincy standards have also dipped.
Watchman: Yeah…if one cannot bat how can one play cricket?
Me: And now he also has problems with Greg Chappell.
Watchman: What chappals?
Me: I said Greg Chappell – the Indian cricket coach.
Me: Yeah. And looks like Rahul will be the next captain.
Watchman: I also think so. We need a change in name….Rahul is quite nice. Even Shah Rukh Khan is called Rahul in all his movies.
(By now I had realized that the night-watchman was a non-cricketing Indian and took scant interest in the Ganguly-Chappell saga)
Me: You are so very right. I need to catch up on some sleep…seeya in the morning.
Watchman: Sure sir. Also, I would have been a cricket fan like you but…I don`t have the time. Moreover, our cricket team lives cricket, dreams cricket, eats cricket….if only they could play some cricket.
(I was surprised…all of a sudden this man had become a cricketing guru.)
Me: Why did you earlier pretend as if you didn`t know cricket?
Watchman: Sir…I am a night-watchman …how can I not know cricket?
(He had me stumped. I walked back to the pavilion, retired hurt.)