As the IPL auction got underway recently, certain people in my family were watching the auction very keenly. These are the ‘IPL Team Owners’ of our family with avowed interest in the teams because they happen to be living in the home city of the teams.
Kochi Kunchacko, an uncle from Kochi who was an ardent supporter of the team even before the idea was conceived, was sitting with family in Kochi and calling my Dad with his 'expert comments' on the 'purchases’. His family consisting of a cat, a dog and a wife have walked out on him during every IPL match and came back to realize that he wasn’t even aware of their absence.
Mrs Kunchacko: Honey, I am back!
Mr Kunchacko: When did you leave?
Mrs Kunchacko: Sob!
Mumbai Mathai (MM), another uncle from Mumbai who "owns" the Mumbai team in the family is similarly engrossed in the auction. His three sons are closet Delhi, Chennai and Rajasthan supporters. They are too scared to come out of the closet. Their dad is waiting outside with a bat to clobber them on their head if they dare to. And like people living in closets, they live a lie every day, making uninterested cries of joy every time a Mumbai batsman hits a run or gets a wicket, while suppressing their real feelings for their teams.
MM: Mone Rahul. We have the best team I think.
Rahul (uninterestedly): Wotever.
MM: Rohan, Do you think we should have gone for one more bowler?
Rohan : Who cares!
MM: Ryan mone….
Ryan: Shut up dad!
In Delhi, my army colonel uncle, Delhi Dominic is twirling his handle bar mustache looking pensively at the auction. He hopes that 'he' will get a good team. His two sons studying in Bangalore are vociferous Bangalore supporters. Delhi Dominic is least bothered. His dog Caesar, Simba and Ikroo (wife's dog), his orderly, gardener, driver and entire unit ( infantry) are Delhi supporter unless they want something really nasty to happen to them like a court martial or 50 rounds around the parade ground carrying a 100 pound sack of stones.
DD: Caesar! Who will this year’s IPL my boy!
DD: Good boy!!!
Reggie Rajasthan (RR) has two daughters, whose support for the teams wavers according to the players. The team with the best looking cricketer gets their vote. But they are also scared to tell their dad the truth and try to suppress yawns when an ordinary looking cricketer hits six sixes in the last over and wins the match by one run and ball to spare.
Patros Punjab and his wife are Punjab supporters. His one and a half year old twins, a boy and a girl wore the Kings Eleven Punjab logo on their diapers last year. They are too young to do anything about it. But the rest of the family is waiting with bated breath to see what happens in a couple of years when they will have to wear chaddies with the same logo.
So where does my Dad figure in all this you might wonder. He would have really loved to support Royal Challengers, despite his name starting with a P. But he has decided to remain neutral and with the other "non owners" in the family has taken it upon himself to ensure that during weddings, funerals, baptisms and First holy communions and miscellaneous family get-togethers, Patros Punjabi, Reggie Rajashtan, Kochu Kuriakose, Delhi Dominic and Mumbai Mathai don’t maul each other to death.
So in effect my dad and the rest of the male family members are the Fourth Umpires of the ‘Family Indian Premier League’.