Saturday, April 26, 2008

And Sreesanth Wept

What a fall was there my country cousins
When you and I and all mallus fell down
When shameful tears flourished over us
(Quoted with due apologies to Mark Antony for the distortions)

We have seen him dance in the middle; and yell and bicker and make faces and even pray - and we were indulgent even tho we thought he went overboard sometimes.

But when he wept like a ----?! Sreesanth should have contained his tears, like Kapil Dev should have during that famous interview with Karan Tarpar, I felt.

But then why shouldn't he weep? Why shouldn't men weep? Does weeping unman you?Which Scriptures say so? Which scientific treatise establishes this?

It's all part of that patriachal discursive notions which created an order and attitudes from time immemorial with the help of certain controlling images of what a woman and a man should be - images which conditioned societal thinking about the do's and donts for both sexes.

I remember a sentence in Leon Uris's EXODUS which had a terrific cathartic effect on me when i read it as an undergraduate student. It went like this: ARI BEN CANNAN WEPT. The tough guy who fought in his own way for the creation of the state of Israel wept - but not out of self pity. he shed tears for his people and instantly enhanced his stature in the mind of the reader. And then there is that great scene in King lear where Lear comes carrying Cordelia's body in his arms, with tears streaming down his face, and uttering "NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER". I didn't grudge those men their tears. But when Kapil Dev and Sreesahth shed tears, I felt let down.

Why? Cos we have been taught to think that when men cry, it should be for causes greater than personal. Crying out of self pity is unmanly behaviour. Sreesanth confessed that he got an sms from a friend in the US chiding him for his tears. "you are a man and should not have wept", it read. I have seen men fight back their tears during funeral services of their dear and near ones. My son, who was barely twelve, refused to weep when my mother passed away - and ended getting severe stomach ache during the funeral. The doctor to whom we rushed him after the service told us that he'll be ok after he cries his heart out!

When we think rationally - we never do it when it comes to the role of sexes- we will realise that men and women are not made of different clay. And both have tear glands and ducts for the use of which Nature has made no stipulations. The norms are purely cultural.

I think just as we women resent being controlled by stereo typed notions, men too resent it. But they haven't got their act together to start a liberation movement or Masculinist theory.


  1. Men do cry..but maybe hiding in the loo..;-P
    It is true that we are conditioned not to cry in public...but we are not conditioned not to cry at all..

    probably like you mentioned it is how we were raised with a notion "Boys dont cry" and as you grow up we get used to it..the stereotypes becomes the norm..

  2. the only thing i couldnt understand is why did he chose to cry (like the moonsoon!.)and not slap bhaaji back? ??
    that would be my get one,you give one! isnt it???? or am i too hostile???

  3. @mathew
    must be pretty difficult to conform to the boys-dont-cry norm?

    if he had slapped back, he'd have had a ban slapped on him-something he cant afford at this stage of his career, not with the competitioin from the unprecented number of pacers india has now.

    sreesanth is street smart.

  4. but that is ridiculuous! if you are older and well established in the team you can go around smacking people ? bhaaji got reprimanded,sure,but the humiliation of being struck across your face in front of international media..i might prefer to give back and sit on the bench for a few games.but then that's me!!!!
    also his no reponse could actually be attributed to plain shock! i guess this is the first time in cricket history a player slapped another!!! in which case his reflexes not good!!!!

  5. @renu
    i'd say his reflexes r good- had the presence of mind to calculate the crores that'd go down the drain if he hit back.
    anyway, the punch seems to have done himm good-has activated his performance glands :-))he is doing exceedingly well now

  6. really, is he worth crores? thought he was rather mediocre...but isnt the team getting rather medicore anyways?
    anyways,we need to invest more in other sports....track&field,hockey,soccer,tennis...there is a whole world of sports other than cricket in this world!
    the next olympics is coming sure we will send a handful of athletes,who will bring us back nothing.i dont blame them,..they dont have the BCCI or any other money minters backing them.
    sad state of affairs! we'll get better when we can think beyond cricket ....


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