Pakistan is in the semi-finals for the Cricket World Cup! This is huge folks!
That’s what I’m told anyways. I’m very limited in my “Pakistani-ness” (for further details, check out my previous post “Are you down with the brown?”)
Back in 1998, I remember sitting with the siblings and cousins in my uncle’s living room in Karachi, Pakistan. The subject got on cricket and I admitted I didn’t know a thing about the sport. One of my cousins started explaining it to me and, well, I couldn’t make sense of anything. I nodded my head along with his definitions of stuff like ‘sixers’ and
‘ballers’ ‘bowlers’ but in reality, I couldn’t wrap my head around such other-worldly terms.
But then a few years later the Bollywood movie Lagaan came out and my friends, that’s when cricket started making sense.
Starring Aamir Khan, Lagaan, which was actually nominated for Best Foreign Language Oscar*, takes place in India in 1893 and is about the mother of all cricket matches. Aamir Khan stars as Bhuvan who forms and leads a group of his fellow villagers to play a game of cricket against British soldiers.
Here’s the deal – if Bhuvan and his team can win the game, they don’t have to pay an agriculture tax to the British Empire, which they can’t really afford to do anyways. However, if they lose, the village will have to pay three times the original tax. As you can see, there’s a lot riding on this game.
There’s a problem though – the Indian villagers have no idea how to play cricket. Fortunately, they are taught how to play by the sister of the British Captain, who teaches them in secret while falling in love with Aamir Khan (well, Bhuvan to be more precise).
As Bhuvan and his people learned how to play cricket, I learned how to play cricket. It totally all made sense afterwards and now I can explain the game! Sort of!
For the record, I do have a cricket bat that I got in 1998 from Pakistan. I wanted one and my uncle bought me one for 100 rupees. I have used it ever since to threaten my buddies’ significant others.
*I remember Aamir Khan looking all dejected at the Academy Awards when they didn’t call Lagaan for the Oscar. He was sitting behind the guy that won. Bechara (poor guy).