Thursday, March 29, 2007

WORLD CUP DIARY: The Jamaican evening

The mind works in strange ways, doesn’t it? The spur for me wanting to write a post on the people here was actually this wonderful evening we spent with a set of Jamaican people…and eventually forgot to mention that altogether in the Karyl-Olivia-Rohan haze.

One of our fellow journalists here had shacked up at one of these residential bed-and-breakfasts…the landlady was a lovely chirpy middle-aged woman called Joyce. Joyce is about 60, teaches people to bake cakes for a living, and lives alone in a quaint old double-storey apartment, where this journalist was staying during his stopover in Kingston.

Now cricket isn’t Joyce’s cup of tea, but it is for most of the locals she is friends with. And hearing that we had all come from India to cover the World Cup, Joyce’s friends wanted to meet up with us.

Can’t say we made a great impression with our happy-that-India-have-lost attitude which is so alien to these rather motherland-loving people. But all of Joyce’s friends were great fun. To start with, most of them follow cricket, and the deal in Jamaica is that either you don’t follow cricket, or you’re manic about the game.

Stephanie, for example. She is in his mid-50s as well, but has talked nothing but cricket for the past 30-odd years, and is trying her darnedest to ensure her daughter follows in her footsteps. “But Simone wants to party and can’t understand why I like sitting in the sun the whole day”. Simone has been taken to matches, but has often been misplaced during drinks breaks only to be found at home in the evening. And an evening with Indian cricket journalists wasn’t Simone’s cup of tea, so she gave it a miss.

But can Stephanie talk cricket! As can Ben and William and Roger and the rest of the many people who bombarded us with questions, and then provided better answers than we did.

And more than cricket, can they laugh! You have to realise that these people aren’t particularly rich. Not that they are poor, but in an Indian context, they would be called Lower Middle Class. And all of them had gone to work the day before and would again the following day.

Joyce is a good cook as well and has the right philosophy about entertaining guests. All she had made was rice-with-peas, chicken roast, beef steak and pork shreds!