By Atul Kapoor
Dear Enthusiast from India,
Please bear with me even if you find the undertone of what I am about to state is unapologetic. Your entire diatribe that had so unrelentingly occupied a great chunk of media space for last couple of days does not inspire me to concede even an inch. You might have made such a hue and cry about my supposedly ‘cringe worthy ignorance’ but it still does not take away from me my right to ‘not know’ someone.
Your insinuations in the loose cannon narrative about me being ‘elitist’ do not, or should I say must not, hold water against the flimsy background of me being ignorant about Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, even if he happens to be your greatest sporting icon ever, something I came to know about only after that fateful evening where I was asked a seemingly harmless question whether I knew who Mr. Sachin Tendulkar was upon which I plainly replied: ’No I don’t’. At that moment I had no idea about the magnitude of its outcome. Oh yes, in last few days I have skimmed through the mountain of literature written about the great man. Now that I know that there is a sport called ‘Cricket’ that once was played by a man in whom you have entrusted the divinity of God. He has retired from the game but doesn’t look likely to retire from your psyche for generations to come. Just looking at his records and his dedication for the sport I would say: quite rightly so. Inquisitively, I studied more about your country and came to know that you worship many Gods. Here, to the point of risking your ire even further, I would like to remain honest to God by confessing that I wasn’t aware of even one of them. So, should that give you another reason to put me down, and yet I would do my best to clutch to my right to be ignorant. I urge you not to trivialize the stature of a God by seeming to thrust the venerability upon someone at a gunpoint.
A God’s credibility can never be held hostage to an individual’s genuflection, no matter how esteemed that individual himself or herself could be. My having been ignorant about Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, didn’t make him less of a God at that time just the way that my now been stirred all ends up wouldn’t do anything to augment his glory. There are thousand amazing things happening in my country that you could be unaware of but here I must eschew myself from indulging into some puerile argument as to who amongst the two of us is more strikingly ignorant. I am writing to you keeping in my mind your capacity as a ‘fan’. Just like Mr. Sachin Tendulkar I am also a sportsperson of some repute and have a decent fan following all across the globe. I respect you for being a ‘fan’. You are the best gift that a sportsperson can think of. You make one complete. You provide meaning to one’s toil. You make one feel proud. I might have, unintentionally though, triggered your invested pride by my otherwise innocuous ignorance but by calling me names for that reason you are unwittingly bringing disrepute to sports fraternity as a whole and in a way to the person himself whom you have chosen to stand for at first place.
My ignorance about someone so majestic in another part of the globe does not necessarily make me an ‘elitist’. It could have been a part my genuine preoccupation with my own sport in which I have strived to excel and a part about my indifference to a sport that is so alien for my country. A sport is beautiful as long as it brings out the best in a sportsperson and its followers. Egotism is certainly not in the best interest of any sport and would not take it places. Therefore, I request you to kindly shed it at first instance in the interest of your own sport icon and in the larger interest of sportsmanship itself. Be the gift as you ideally should be; the spoils of the sport and not the spoilsport.
Disclaimer: This letter is not written by Maria Sharapova. The views expressed are those of the author.
About The Author: Atul Kapoor is an author of a novel ‘Incredible High’ published in the year 2010. Presently, he is working on his next book which is a group of short stories knitted together to give them a semblance of the novel. He keeps dabbling in poetry and writing articles in between.