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|January 17, 2000||
A mouthful of skyThe Spare Crib/Abhilasha Khaitan
Whenever I see Harsha, I smile. Even if it's for no better reason than for the mere purpose of trying to match his. That guy smiles all the time! And it's a perfect smile at that.
Creditable, that he smiles, and tragic that his job requires him to, even when he may be itching to utter something profane, scream or just sit back and scowl, and wonder how he's going to be polite about that blasted whoever in his column the next day.
Hey, not shooting any messenger, or trifling with the guy's work. However, I find the smile completely amusing. Not much I can do about that.
Early morning, even 4 a.m. on occasion, switch on the television, grouchy as hell that you bothered to wake up to watch, what, cricket? Wife/Husband/Friend/Kids bad mouthing, muttering unmentionables at this heinous act, when you see a familiar face, smiling at you, and you think, how? How does he do it?
"Raining at the MCG, covers are out, not much chance of play". Smile. "Disastrous showing by the Indians, yet again". Smile. "I obviously haven't had much sleep, written 3 columns, spoke most of the day, pretended to be amazed at the 'expert' comments from experts, but look at me, I still smile". Smile.
And, I am amazed. For those who think that Harsha Bhogle has one of the coolest jobs under the sun, think again. Not to say that his job isn't cool. It is. You like a game. Covering it becomes your profession. And then, you usually do a good job of it. Wonderful.
But it's not just about pen, paper and a packet of chips. The way I see it, and looking at it really closely, I figured that the guy has his work truly cut out for him. Does he grit his teeth on those occasions when the experts start off on cliches, trite remarks and total inanities? It would require the patience of a saint to not put a lid on it, when some of them (not taking any names here) deliver spiels on how they would have done it in their time.
Having established that Harsha has the patience of a saint, one may also state that he slips into the mould too. However, that is not avoidable. When in Rome, and all that. So, our man Bhogle utters the odd cliché, and feigns ignorance when his expert panelists state the obvious. And of course, he smiles.
What is truly a hat-doffer is how energetic he always seems to be. This is not just about the smile. Not at all. This is about the enthusiasm with which he analyses and re-analyses, using the Amazing Analyzer, the bowing and batting of the world and it's second cousin.
Sure, it's fun and insightful. On occasion, if I may add. But, from Shane Lee to his speedier and trimmer brother to Sachin to Waugh. Please. It adds value to a lot of lives, I'm sure, but to me, the patience and energy with which the man does it, is more amazing than the analysis itself.
It was during the World Cup that I first noticed that the only Indian smiling after the loss to Zimbabwe was guess who!. I guess what's really sad is that if you want the world to watch you, you don't have the liberty to not look happy. A distorted version of that tedious cliché, 'smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you're out of a job'. Occupational hazard this, but he wears it well.
I hope you understand that I truly admire in others what I know I can't boast of. Let's not get rude, and wonder if I admire the world, but if there are two virtues I do respect, that be patience and unending enthusiasm.
Our man Bhogle has them both, in abundance.
And then there's that smile.
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