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Feeling secure in a bubble, cricketers and I Filed on August 24, 2020 | Last updated on August 24, 2020 at 05.47 pm

The one that's bubbling up this IPL seems quite a different beast and some serious business

So, the moneyed, hoity-toity mercenaries of cricket world have flown into the UAE for yet another Indian Premier League, the world's richest and most followed cricket carnival. In good shape, we hope, and wrapped up in bio-secure bubbles, we are told.

I don't watch the gentleman's game anymore and could endure it only if I am chained to a TV set and told to do so with a gun to my head. So, I would have to be half a bubble off plumb to care about all the pageantry that's begun already had it not been for the tournament's bubbly-bit this time. 

To be honest, I am plain intrigued because up until last week, a bubble in my humble lexicon meant just that - a thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or at best the word to describe a good time that is either removed from reality or doomed to end soon. Remember how they spoke about the internet boom and called it the dot com bubble that burst and blew?

But the one that's bubbling up this IPL seems quite a different beast and some serious business, at least for the UK-company that's been contracted by the BCCI, the folks who 'control' cricket in India, for the very purpose. And what is that? Simply to keep cricket teams isolated from the outside world to minimise the risk of Covid infection as much as possible. Once inside, we gather, no one including players, support staff, franchise team members, match officials, cricket operations team, ground staff, broadcast teams, hotel staff, and even security personnel will be allowed to leave until the tournament ends. 

Now, how do you think that will work? Well, we can only wait and watch in a couple of weeks whilst we get inspired and, excuse the pun, bubble-ready and wrapped in our own way, like I have. And here's the little Monday morning confession I want to make and one that's gotta be told.

For a week now, I have been feeling terribly positive and buoyant at work, at home and in life since attending an office webinar on positivity and mental resilience. And truth be told, it's been a personality-altering journey since. As if someone's just thrust a new me into a 'brave new world', none of what has gone ignored at work. A couple of my well-meaning colleagues in the newsroom have told me how they have started to not just notice the spring in my step but also hear the noise that accompanies, thanks to the hard heels of my heavily Covid-discounted new shoes. While another good-hearted coworker has walked up to me to pop my bubble with a smile as sardonic as the look of a sneaking suspicion on his face asking whether I was the same man and if I had kept all of that newfound machismo (and the swagger) hidden all this while in some secret faraway alleyway for a purpose? 

Honestly, I have no answer to any except that if I ever had to star in a real life 'before-after' advertisement to supplement a diminishing income, I know this would be it. And you have got to give it to the top bosses for timing this transformative work lesson so perfectly. Call it knowing the pulse of your workforce or what you will but after surviving four months of enough Covid-fuelled malaise compounded by a sinking household bottom-line and a burgeoning gym-free waistline, it all came just when I was beginning to give up. And look at the turnaround! 

Despite knowing that my window of despair could well manifest itself into the winter of discontent, I feel an extreme sense of euphoria yet again in my own bio-secure bubble that was about to burst any moment. The bubble around me now is so shapely round and so robust that it will need some real ransacking and rummaging to be ravaged but can't be burst anymore. And I realise it's the one inside the bubble at the end of the day that can create it the way it wants and then decide whether to let it burst or blow.

But back to the story of my new bio-bubble and I can tell you that it isn't down to Abraham Maslow alone and his theory of 'Human Motivation', the American's famous hierarchy of human needs that the webinar helped us twig, grasp, and fathom last Monday over a close to two-hour long session.

I guess it's got a lot to do with the Indian Premier League as well. So let the games begin and let it all bubble over! 



Abhishek Sengupta

Abhishek is the head of multimedia at Khaleej Times and has worked in radio and television channels before joining UAE's first English daily. Semi-skilled in breaking news and storytelling for visual and print media, he feels he is more comfortable talking than writing. A food and travel enthusiast, he is always busy making itineraries when not producing videos for Khaleej Times.

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