It is Nobel season and as good a time as any to discuss theories. As with any theory, even this one is only as good as the proof on the table. On the basis of what the last weekend has thrown at us, it is safe to say that destiny seeks out its darlings with the same unbridled enthusiasm as a teenager. Destiny it seems plays butler to pull over the coat of success over its chosen champion, embracing them in encomiums that underline the fact that they are first among equals.
Not for the first time, we saw the game stall and wait as if bound by the sole purpose of decorating its masters. In Muirfield, the American team waited nearly an hour for Tiger Woods to give them the all-important 18th point. It was no accident then that the world woke up to headlines about Tiger helping America to another President’s Cup.
At around the same time in India, in a game where you’d expect some nascent young man to emerge in a triumphant burst of glory, the grand old man of cricket was cornering it all. Champions League T20 came to a conclusion with 40 year old Sachin Tendulkar holding aloft the shining trophy even as the Mumbai Indians jumped into a song and dance.
Standing in the shadows ruminating over the hand dealt to them were Ernie Els in Dublin, Ohio and Rahul Dravid in New Delhi. These are men who have learnt to live under the shade, accustomed to fate’s partial methods. Both men had seen their fair share of battles and no doubt enjoyed some grand moments under the lights.
But life had taught them more than their fair share of lessons and dinned their veins with a fine appreciation of the skewed methods of fate. Dravid has lived in the giant shadow of Sachin ever since he donned national colours. The Karnataka batsman is a disciplined man with a nuanced understanding of the virtue of method.
Over the years people have witnessed Dravid’s methods and admired his undiluted diligence. He spent many thankless hours in the nets working on the minute details that defined his elegance and consistency. Even to the end of his career, Dravid was more than happy to learn and adapt – as is amply endorsed by his more than respectable record in the shortest version of the game.
As luck would have it, Dravid could only muster a single before departing the ground for the last time as a batsman. Interestingly, the legend from Bengaluru was more than happy to drop way down the order even if this was his grand finale. To his last moment as a player, he was mindful of the fact that he was just one among eleven men pursuing a collective goal.
None of that matters though to the cruel hand of fate. It had already picked its favourite son and was only too happy to relegate the rest to being the props for the anointed child. The warm hands of fate were once again saving themselves to embrace Tendulkar, who is now the reigning World Champion, the CLT20 Champion and IPL Champion.
The man known as “Big Easy” is in reality anything but that. Ernie Els has been a fiercely competitive golfer who has done everything in his physical powers to compete with the impossible standards set by Tiger. Four major titles is no mean achievement, but Els will be the first to admit that he could have hauled far more than that if the prime of his career did not coincide with that of Woods.
But it has and despite making a determined effort, there wasn’t much Els could do against a phenomenon like Tiger, except play second fiddle. On Sunday, it took a near putt from 30 yards for Woods to give the American team the 18th and decisive point. As difficult as this might be to explain, this was the third time in a row that Tiger has scored the winning point in a President’s Cup.
You cannot manufacture that, not even with the talents of Tiger Woods. There is a hand of fate guiding success carefully into the vicinity of these men, who are only too eager to lap it up at every opportunity. And the case isn’t too different with Sachin – except that he had to wait for five world cups before gaining the much sought after world cup prize at his sixth attempt.
The sight of Sachin on the shoulders of his Mumbai Indian team at Feroze Shah Kotla was reminiscent of that night in Mumbai when Tendulkar was paraded around the stadium in the aftermath of the final. Expect no such mercies for the likes of Els and Dravid. It appears destiny is a biased tsar who makes no qualms about handing differential treatment to its subjects.