Old habits don't just die hard, they often take new forms. That's what a cricket match on a desolate beach showed us last night.
We always knew him as the aggressive kid with a penchant for self-praise. But we never knew his academic stint at a US university would make matters worse. The moment he stepped on the cricket field, he lost his sanity. As the self-appointed captain of an hopelessly unlucky team, he marshalled his "troops" on the field, as if this was Dhoni leading a bunch of under-19 aspirants.
That he is a poor bowler and average batsman is no reason to condemn him, but even his sporting mediocrity paled into insignificance before his savage behaviour. It was fun playing the gullible jack before the "great" one...the more you showed your vulnerability, the more boastful he became. His gestures could have put Rohit Sharma to shame - the way he was advising his players on the field at the slightest provocation. While it was fun watching his antics, the most irritating remark was how he had lost his "old touch" of his playing days (as if a Tendulkar-in-the-making did not bless a fulfilling cricketing career by choice)
This insane self-love did not spare even a child aged nine who was seen as any other competitor. How foolish can one get - and he calls this brazenness "killer instinct"
You can't converse with him anymore - he's keen only to pass judgements, give verdicts, analyze, probe, advice, teach, guide, coach, bless, patronise, predict, foretell - anything but plain, simple conversation.
There's not a single reason why our hero should hold himself in such high esteem, but he actually dares to consider him God's gift to mankind...and now the most eligible bachelor on earth. And to applaud his self-assertion are a bunch of few comic yes-men - always at his feet...suffering the wrath of his dictatorship for reasons known to them.
Our friend otherwise has many positive traits - he's enthusiastic, sensitive, sharp and witty...but it would be great if he stops playing the I-specialist - throwing nauseauting sermons on just about anything in life - sport, religion, education, films, culture, crime, music, literature, employment, business, politics, philosophy, logic, sociology, psychology, human values, animal instinct ...the list is endless.
Instead, he can learn how to play a caring host, how not to expose unsuspecting guests to the choicest hazards of ill-kept native homes, in the scorching summer of May. And some of his impotent disciples can try and find their own voice, rather than parroting his diktats, as if their very survival depended on it.