Ode to Muthiah Muralitharan

Murali

We don’t deep fry our crickets
like in parts of Vietnam, we
Make men with defective joints,
Into a fanfare, a circus. How 800 test
Scalps, is no small feat,
As a smiling assassin, surpasses
Crazy Horse, in counts and statistics.
Cricket, needed a universal hero
And that man who owned
A Jam factory, made a trick like Houdini and called
It a doosra, a word that began
Like a Gobbledegoook, or perhaps
an onomatopoeia, and entered into the colloquial.
How one man became bigger
Than a country, bigger than a religion of multiple gods,
bigger than a game. How a man, made
A mis-anatomy, God’s miscreation,
his shoulder joint
Into a Ferris wheel, that turned
And turned.

How a small island nation needed a hero,
In a time of war. How a man, who was a freak by birth,
turned 22 million into aficionados
of a game. While a man with
A fearful mustache stood near his
Oblivion, a man with a killer instinct,
made real history. The windmills rolled,
Four blade-like limbs, as a confectionery salesman,
bamboozled men with willows in hand,
Marking their downfall, bringing the sweetest confection
Of them all, a conquering smile. How
The reign of terror, could not
Tame a nation, of a maddening game.

How a crooked el-bow, became like
An arc of a rain-bow, a sign of real hope,
Of fearless tolerance, while one man’s glory
The type shared over a TV screen,
Can make a nation forget and perhaps forgive.
How wintering hearts, in comas, started
To believe, to dream, that no
Dream is too far, or too obscure,
while, we, for the first time,
in the short history of a fragile country,
stood no longer as gullible fools, as it sank in,
That an illusory peace, was now,
No longer a nugget of fools’ gold,
Only an oasis skirted by brine.

The Pyrite was now the Pyrrhic,
A victory in a war of attrition.
How inside a biomechanics lab in Perth,
Serendipity stood one degree adrift,
To turn, turn, turn,

A perennial riddler into a cult hero.

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