Because we are like that only...
Some Olympic categories in which Indians could go for gold
Did you know that the oldest person to ever win an Olympics medal was a 73-year-old British graphic artist called John Copley? And that he won the silver medal for etching in the 1948 London Olympics? Yes, that’s right. Etching. That was an Olympic category back in the day, along with literature, architecture, music and town planning. (I can just about imagine the Doordarshan commentary as these contests got underway.)
I don’t know about you but this bit of Olympic trivia left me longing for a simpler world in which people weren’t so hung up on sporting talent – at which we are, quite frankly, completely rubbish – but had time to appreciate the finer things of life. Like...er...etching.
Now, I’m not sure that any of us would do very well in the town planning department (just drive around any modern Indian city if you don’t believe me) but there are some areas in which our teams would be an absolute shoo-in for the gold. So, maybe sometime in the distant future, when all those ghastly memories of the Delhi Commonwealth Games have faded, and India is hosting the Olympics, we could smuggle in some of these non-sporting categories so that our boys and girls can, at long last, improve on their medals tally.
Here are just a few ideas, off the top of my head. Feel free to add to the list, and we’ll petition the Indian Olympic Association in good time.
I’m not dead set on ‘Whining’, you understand. You could call it ‘Outraging’ or even the more boring ‘Complaining’. But no matter how it is titled, I’m pretty sure we would make a clean sweep of this category every four years. After all, this doesn’t require uniforms, special training equipment or large stadiums to practice in. We can all hone our talents in front of the television set, on social media, at office, while shopping. Hell, we could even put in a couple of hours of practice while commuting back and forth from work. And God knows, we’ve been doing just that years and years. So, let’s not let all that good work go to waste. Let’s at least get a medal or two for our plaints.
2) Musical choreography
Nobody does the choreographed musical number better than Bollywood. And thanks to all those dance shows on TV like Jhalak Dikhla Ja and Dance India Dance (or whatever else they’re called this season) the jhatka-matka school of modern dancing has taken root in our hearts – and our feet – as well. Rare is the Indian who can sit still when the Hindi music begins to blare. So let’s get those pelvic thrusts an Olympic category of their own. And see India shine and shimmy and go for gold.
3) Driving recklessly
By that I don’t mean driving fast on Formula One tracks (because, yes, we are pretty rubbish at that too) but driving recklessly: taking turns without using the indicator; fender-bending with panache; braking suddenly, changing lanes with abandon, and never ever taking your finger off the car-horn. I’m just thinking aloud here but maybe all of these could be sub-categories in this competition. And I’m quite sure the Indians would make a clean sweep of all of them.
4) Eating deep-fried snacks
We have a pan-national advantage in this sport, what with every region in India having its own deep-fried specialities. If the Bengalis have their luchis and the Punjabis their paranthas, the UP bhaiyas have their kachories and chaats. The Tamilians and Kannadigas have their medu vadas, the Maharashtrians their chaklis, the Malyalis their banana chips. I could go on but I’d then have to take a break to have a deep-fried snack of my own. Maybe I should do that; get in some early practice on the off-chance that I make it to the final squad. It may be my only hope of ever winning a gong.
5) Sexual harassment
You know we’d be brilliant in this category, don’t you? Come on, admit it. All those decades of practice at whistling at the ladies as they walk down the road, groping them when they travel in public transport, harassing them at the workplace, molesting them when they have the temerity to go out at night, raping them when they ‘ask’ for it, all of it would pay off finally. Score!
Then, of course, there are the minor categories, like haggling for a good price, making tall promises that we know that we can never keep, and that old Indian chestnut, ‘jugaad’, which we are so inordinately proud of. And let’s not forget ‘Late-coming’ as well.
The only problem with the last though, is that given our attitude to time-keeping, the competition will probably not start until the next Olympic Games roll around. And then, they’ll be held in some stupidly-sporty nation like Australia or Germany, and it will all be over for us and our Olympic hopes.