Having been laid up with a dose of genuine Delhi Belly (well, I suppose it’s strictly Bombay Belly, but let’s not split hairs), I’ve had plenty of time to devote to watching 346546456 channels of cable TV and reading the newspapers. Doing so has been an interesting insight into India, and specifically into its seemingly limitless appetite for two things: hilariously overblown Bollywood music videos, and cricket.
It’s well known that India loves its cricket, but even so, I hadn’t realised quite how much. Case in point: the Indian team is making a bit of a bollocks of its tour of South Africa – its batsmen have capitulated in the first couple of one-dayers, and even when they had SA on the ropes in the third match, they somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, with the hitherto-useless SA ‘all-rounder’ Justin Kemp smashing an even 100 to lift SA from 6/76 to 270 or so.
In Australia, such a performance would draw some scathing newspaper columns and perhaps some soul-searching about what had gone wrong. In India, it’s drawn a parliamentary censure motion against the coach (Greg Chappell, who suffers all the more for the fact that he’s a foreigner), a veritable avalanche of minute-by-minute coverage on all the TV news channels, front-page coverage in all the newspapers across the country, and seemingly limitless rage from the man on the street. It’s astonishing. I’m sure life’s great if you’re an Indian cricketer when all’s going well, but by god, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes at the moment.
Anyway, thankfully my stomach seems to have settled, so we’re thinking about hitting the road soon. The other amusing event of the last couple of days has been a stand-up row with the hotel’s laundry guy, who lost one of my shirts. He was adamant that he was given precisely 24 articles of clothing to wash, and then when I set them out and demonstrated that only 23 came back, he insisted on counting them himself twice, skipping from 21 to 23 both times (ie. 19, 20, 21, 23… see, sir, there are 24!) Finally, with much apologetic head-waggling, he’s gone off to try and locate it. Time will tell, I suppose.
That’s about it. Oh, and we have a phone – I don’t have the number with me, but if anyone wants to get in touch, e-mail me and I’ll send it on.