So, Maria Sharapova not knowing who Sachin Tendulkar is has translated into the shit well and truly hitting the social media fan. I’m not surprised. If I am, I’m hiding it really well, because, if you think about it, what does being surprised really represent? The answer is weakness. That’s right, it’s a sign of unpreparedness. To be surprised by anything would equal a chink in my armor, a gap in my ever-readiness. It would also mark me out as decidedly non-Indian, which I am not, in that I am fallible. And to display feebleness of any kind is a dangerous invitation to humor. As an Indian, I have a standard policy toward humor: I detest it.
If there ever was a stereotype of us Indians that has never gotten the recognition it deserves, it’s this one: we have NO funny bone. The jury is still out on this anatomical mystery though. Either we have them removed surgically at birth, or evolution took care of the darn things for us. As a result, we bruise easy, like over-ripe peaches. Forget the trite cliches like smelly, hairy and/or nerdy, those are so passé. The convention of the humorless Indian is far more effective, because, not only is it a long-standing trope, but, despite its legacy, it’s relatively virginal.
This is why, Sharapova’s apparent cluelessness about Tendulkar is no laughing matter, on the contrary it deserves a grammatically appalling tweety backlash. In fact, we’ve backlashed this baby so good that standard idioms like ‘below the belt’ fail to effectively capture our outrage at Sharapova’s obvious dearth of cricketing knowledge. It’s like me expressing zero knowledge about Tom Brady during a Super Bowl party, in Boston, surrounded by Patriots fans, after mentioning that I used to be a sports journalist, and expecting to get out of there unscathed… but, wait, I did. What could this mean?
I suppose a case can be made about the relative lack of coverage cricket enjoys outside of the sixteen odd countries that actually play the sport on the national level. And the fact that neither Sharapova’s country of birth nor residence are home to citizens that purr with pleasure when willow comes in contact with leather. I’ve also heard that the mention of bat and ball in many countries outside of cricket-enjoying ones conjures up images of something called baseball! One can also mull over the relative impossibility of every sportsperson being well-versed with the achievements of every other sportsperson in every other sport.
But, I’m not backing off so easy. In fact, hot on the heels of this insult to Tendulkar’s repute, I intend to make my own outrage known to WordPress. The website is clearly lacking in its cricket knowledge, because the dotted red line signifying a spelling error keeps popping up under the great Sachin R. Tendulkar’s name, but Sharapova’s stays unsullied (look right). If this is not a slight to the prestige of an icon of Tendulkar’s stature, then what is? Watch out Twitter I’m starting my own hashtag very soon. #notamused.
© Ayesha Sindhu 2014