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An Open Letter To Mr. Gavaskar

Posted: October 13, 2020

Sunil Gavaskar’s comment has sparked backlash and has resulted in a back-and-forth between those defending him and others holding him accountable. Here’s an open letter to Mr. Gavaskar about his much contested statement. 

Dear Mr Gavaskar,

Not an attack on Mr.Gavaskar

No, this post is not about slamming you . Not even shaming you for a comment you made on Mrs. Kohli. A seemingly harmless comment made just for some jest. Why should it entail so much of discussion? Why so much hoopla about it? Wasn’t that supposed to cover up the same goof up that Mr. Kohli made by dropping two catches in a match?

Well, don’t they say catches wins watches and by missing two and not just one, he lost it. I mean the match. Not of course his sanity after. That department is reserved for us -I mean the not so privileged women- in this lockdown. Losing sanity. Lets not discuss it right now for it demands a separate post and lets not for once deviate from the topic.

Are women only scapegoats?

So continuing from where I deviated, he missed two catches but was privileged enough to have a woman back home whom he married so that she could be blamed for all such losses. No no blame is a hard word, I believe. A woman back home he married so that someday when he lost a match due to missing a catch, she might become some scapegoat for his under performance. After all back home, all he had was just this woman to practice this with. And not a team during these hard times of lockdown. That I think everyone has- only one woman back home to practice the game or the sport with.

Oh! I think I am again deviating from the topic. So some comment you made to pep up the commentary was blown out of proportion because the woman in question had to put up a post ridiculing the same.

Is her response justified?

Why not?

In a way she was being held responsible for her husband’s missing of catches that eventually let him lose matches oops just one match. But here, I forget that for a country obsessed with cricket, that eats cricket, sleeps cricket and dreams cricket it was not just a match. And how could you see your little boy (well not so little now, considering he would be father to one in some time) bear the brunt. And just as a distraction, as a cover up, you bring the wife in the picture.

Pretty harmless? What’s big deal? Don’t tell me haven’t we all at some point of life laughed and enjoyed at all those poor husband and witch wife jokes and nowadays, excitingly forwarded them too. Well no fuss created when we forward them for others to enjoy and laugh, so why did your seemingly harmless comment invited such a backlash?

Why can’t women “take a joke?”

These women I say! Don’t know how to take a joke. It was all in lighter vein baba. Oh I mean baby… just to tickle up the senses, put some life in that otherwise boring game that it had become so for the missed catches. Oh the same ones that cost a lot of matches.

Poor old man just on the receiving end for such a normal and naive comment made in all good humor and with due respect to the lady in question being blown out of proportion.

As I said Mr. Gavaskar, this post is not to slam you. It’s not to justify the lady’s reaction either. I am not taking sides. For once, I am not. Because like I said, this is not a post to ridicule you as a person and blame it on your age.

Because for the first time in forever, (forever at least for a girl who has stayed quiet most of her life and ignored because as was taught always-these things that don’t matter at all) I ridicule, condemn, slam, and even troll the thinking that lets you make this comment.

Is a problematic narrative at play?

Yes, Mr. Gavaskar it’s not your fault. The fault is in the stars that have guided this age old notion of a woman being behind a man’s success. Praise her a little and she’ll be happy. And if by chance, her man stumbles a little, blame her not so little, for not holding up enough for her man to prosper always.

The fault is in the whole idea of bringing the wife (who happens to be a celebrity) in his husband’s missed attempt at such an important catch , well the same one that cost his team THE MATCH.

It is not the first time

The question is, has it ever be done for any other player’s wife in the event of their wins and losses? Has their personal life ever been dragged into it?

And with the woman in question, this is not the first time. It has happened before and with her staying silent on such instances and ignoring it, I think the issue came up again.

So was it to test the limits of her patience? To check if she gives a reaction this time?

So well, she did. Now what?

Well, the important question is what now from here?

But as some claim, it was never about her. It was all about the match.

What are our priorities as a society?

The match that is way more important than a wife’s dignity. Well, that’s what your comment put forth. And for change, I condemn, ridicule, slam it in the same light in which you put it forth.

But you must agree, your comment did wonders. It divided the world in two. One against the motion and one of course, for it. And believe me when I say, my post is for the support of neither.

See, you said something about someone’s wife. The wife (a celebrity in question) didn’t like it. So she made a long post about the same comment not being taken in the same manner that you put forth at the match of course where the husband missed the catch.

She has the right to speak – the same one that you possess- the one that made you say that harmless comment as the commentator in the very match that her husband lost because of that missed catch. Don’t make me say it again and again.

So the world might not , or at least a part of it, might not side with her for her out of proportion outburst, but she wasn’t the one to start it. Don’t victim yourself. You brought her into it. She didn’t walk herself into the match. The one her husband’s team lost because of the missed catch.

Seems that my memory playing games with me. I need to remind myself the reason again and again to understand if only in bits and parts so as to why the wife should be dragged into it.

Was the match so important? Even more important than an expecting woman who needs and is prescribed medically to stay happy and peaceful all the time? So was that lost match because of the missed catch more important than her state of well being? Seems so. But lets leave her state of health as well.

Well, like the saying, you laid the bed and you now must lie on the same. You began the game, and she now wishes to end it.

Doesn’t it mean more than just a comment?

But wait, it wasn’t a game from your end. Because as I have been repeating all this while, it was just a ‘seemingly harmless’ comment. The one that should have been laughed at the moment and forgotten the next. That is what you might have been thinking. Nothing personal about it right.

Well, I’m just attempting to understand the reason behind such a distasteful remark. And yes, this post is about hitting the very reason for this remark and for all those remarks that have been made time and again against all of us (the women i mean) at some point or the other.

So Mr. Gavaskar, the fault is not yours. It’s the mindset that has been passed on generation after generation, that allows men to pass such comments, and then sideline it all in the name of humour which we ladies have been in very little possession of, of late.

Because for once, I did not find it funny. Because the lady in question could ridicule it publicly, slam you and be lauded for it. For once, think about what it does to women like us. The ones not so famous and not so powerful. The ones trying and struggling to get out of the patriarchal set up built up for our convenience by ancestors and happily passed on to us by our mothers. All of course, in the name of traditions. So yes, that’s what the girls are supposed to do. To grow up nicely and to become someone’s wife eventually. And then bear every tantrum, every praise.

The comment that you made oh so casually becomes not normal but a norm for us. And trust me, forget about raising a voice, some don’t even know that they have a voice or that if they raise it, they will be heard. To seek support is an altogether different tangent for many of us.

Yes, such a world exists. Still does. Always did. You’ll find many such women who would be sharing the burden of your misplaced comment from her husband, in laws, and society at large.

And sometimes the husband is decent enough to respect her in return, bear it from the world at large. Because as a woman that is precisely your lot. That is what you were born for.

Is this feeding into an existing problematic mindset?

So Mr. Gavaskar, this is actually about the mindset that questions woman about her choices, ridicules her for her decisions and slams her freedom.

About the thought process that entails that mini dresses, smoking, drinking are the real freedoms as depicted in movies all the time. And if a woman seeks freedom in that respect, well she is ‘asking for it’.

And also about the belief that education and career for a girl are just fillers till the time she gets a good ‘match’ in the marriage market and not the one that are lost due to missed catches and then ‘happily settle down’.

Yes, today I question not you Mr. Gavaskar but the mindset that still asks a career oriented woman about her marriage plans.

And after marriage if she happens to be enjoying a successful career ‘her plans to settle down’ tongue in cheek meaning the baby, the motherhood and all real questions.

And if the child is fairing poorly at the school, blaming the mother again for neglecting the child at the cost of her professional commitments, the efficacy of which stays only when the family is facing some financial crunch. Else for a well settled husband, ‘What’s the need?’

I Wish, men -the husbands, the sons, the fathers had the same set of questions to be answerable to. For once, ask them.

How does it feel? Ask them.

Well, this seemingly harmless comment has rightfully affected the lady in question but like the missed catch that cost you your beloved match, it also did cost us, the ones behind the veil all the time. The ones who are struggling in our own way to fight this patriarchy inch by inch at our own level. In our own little ways and means.

And for the society that expects us to endure and ignore, this might not be the first time in forever, that such an attempt will be condemned, ridiculed and slammed. And believe me this will not be the last.

The fight has just begun and will last till we undo the mindset that enables you and disables us. 

Picture credits:

left-Msdhoni07club on Instagram

right- anushka.galaxy on Instagram

Writing started on an impulse as a means to vent out emotional distress. Now it

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