Elephant vs Tail

India lost yet another test cricket series abroad. Ballwinder explains elephant and its tail over a cup of Black Ivory Coffee.

“And yet again Indian Cricket team loses a test series abroad”, I said with a quick glance towards Ballwinder Paaji while swapping the sports channel to the one where Premier League was on.

England vs South Africa 2017, third Test match, Day 2: LIVE streaming, TV listing, date, time, venue
We did it again, lads! PC: Reuters


“How can you claim to be the best batting line up in the world when you collapse before such low totals?”, I looked again at Ballwinder paaji. “Who is responsible for such performances?”, I was on a rant, hoping for some response. It had been long, I did not realise what exactly was I asking for. Ballwinder paaji was busy burning the fresh Arabica beans for his double/triple shot espresso. But he was listening.

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There is coffee, and then there is espresso


“Elephant and its tail”, said Ballwinder.

baby elephant GIF
Lemme introduce this beauty called the elephant, and well of course, its tail.


“You sire, are in for a ride. Perhaps an elephant ride”, I said to myself. The most exciting thing about an elephant is its size, its trunk, its tusk. Why would anybody even think about its tail. Who has ever even thought about its tail.

Elephant Hair-Facts About Circuses
Elephant’s tail


Then there is Ballwinder. Ballwinder would tell me not only the significance of an elephant’s tail, but also its relevance in the context of Indian cricket team losing yet another cricket series abroad. Now I don’t even bother asking the obvious question like “Ballwinder Paaji, What on earth just happened?  I just commented on the consistent claims of Indian team to be the best in the world despite losing abroad, series after series??”. But I did not ask. I just patiently waited for Ballwinder to address the “elephant” in the room. He knew what I was thinking. He looked at me with a slight smile and only broke eye contact when his coffee did the magic for him.

good morning drinking GIF by Panic! At The Disco
“I know what’s on your mind. Wait, this coffee is ecstatic!”


“Elephant is such a majestic animal. You are in its absolute awe. That trunk, the tusk, you are blown away. A creature of magnanimity, true class. And then there is its tail. A tail which does not go with its size, style, trunk or tusk. Something that is there to give it acceptance in the jungle. Everybody’s got one. Well, elephant should also have it. What’s its purpose. For example, look at a cheetah, its tail helps as rudder when it attacks. Look at a crocodile, its tail gives a torpedo effect in water. We, homo sapiens, did not have any use of it, so it vanished. Poor elephant is stuck with this tail. Just as a part of nature’s contract. Quite a price to pay, must I say.

Cheetah’s tail


Crocodile launches completely out of the water, using its powerful tale. Photo: Trevor Frost, screen grab
  Crocodile’s tail


Image result for elephant tail
Again, Elephant’s tail


“That’s interesting, Ballwinder Paaji”, I said with intrigue. I actually was. Useless, elephant’s tail. As enlightening as it sounded, I still sought an answer to my question. “I understand this much, that you are referring to the Indian cricket team as an elephant. Its character can be compared to the class that an elephant belongs to. But what’s with the tail? Who is the tail? Why is the Indian team losing series after series”, I had to address the “elephant” in the room.

benedict cumberbatch sherlock GIF by BBC
What’s the tail gotta do with the Indian cricket team?


“The tail end of the Indian batting is the elephant’s tail”, said Ballwinder in a firm voice. A voice that sounded as if coffee was still somewhere there in the throat. I was shocked. I was taken aback. Not as much by the voice as by his reply. “The tail end of Indian batting, you mean the bowlers? They are not supposed to be batsmen”, I was enraged. At the tip of being offended.

Mohammed Shami
Why always me?


“Indian bowlers are not tail end batsmen Ballu Paaji, they are bowlers. We have to play them else the English would never have gotten out. In fact, Ballu Paaji, they got the England batting limited to such low scores! Here (England) as well as against South Africa! They did their job!”, I  said, now officially being offended.

how dare you GIF
Indian bowling is not tail ending batting!


Ballwinder was unmoved. He was not at all moved by my reaction. Somewhere he knew that truth is as bitter as coffee. Not everybody can handle it bitterness the first time they sip it. One has to get used to such bitterness called the truth to relish its flavour and slowly come to terms with one’s mind and soul. He continued to sip his coffee, while my blood boiled in ignorance.

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Coffee is bitter, so is the Truth


“I understand your angst”, said Ballwinder Paaji while trying to patronise me. “But this is the bitter truth. Indian batting is as majestic as an elephant. You have to, have to admire it. You don’t have any choice. You just can’t criticise. Someday you might admire its trunk (Kohli), someday its tusk might stand out (Pujara), maybe never as a whole, but you can never condemn the elephant in its totality (The “grand” top order batting performance). Because you just cannot question the beauty of the elephant. Everybody ends up disgusted with the tail, never with the elephant. Who is acknowledging the fact that the Indian bowling performance has been unprecedented, that they have been successful in limiting the opposition batting to such low scores in the recent test matches? If the bowlers themselves cannot fend the challengers’ bowling attack, play between the gaps, keep rotating the strike, hit the odd one out for a boundary, and reduce the bat-pad gap, well then, they are as efficient as an elephant’s tail.”

 Although I could not even raise them, Ballwinder Paaji opened my eyes. I wish I never had to find out the truth. Not at least this way.

My eyes were opened, just couldn’t raise them.


“Ballwinder Paaji, how would you go about dealing with such an elephant?”, I asked gathering back my zen.

“I will make the most beautiful roasted coffee through the elephant’s digestion – Black Ivory Coffee”, responded Ballwinder paaji.

Black Ivory Roasted Coffee


“In fact, I was just having it. You want to try some?”, asked Ballwinder Paaji as a gentleman.

“Thanks, but no thanks”, I said with the straightest possible face.

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Elephant fermented coffee – Thanks but no thanks



Zero Sum Game

Ballwinder goes technical. Happiness in England and Sadness across two continents.

“Paaji, where have you been?”, I asked,”I have been looking for you since the Kroos rescue.”

Ballwinder was indifferent to my question, rather more focused in dressing his nachos with diverse toppings. He replies ” I was busy.” Clearly, one could see doing what..

Nachos GIF
Grooming the Cleopatra

“Either ways Paaji, 6-1! 6 goals by England in a World Cup finals! Where the first match nearly gave everybody jitters and now just look at them. Hell! even the English cannot believe this! Must be the happiest day in their lives after a very long time”, I said with a little sense of rejoice.

Shocked Celebration GIF
Cannot Believe we won the first two games on a trot!

Ballwinder smiles, without breaking any concentration of arranging his plate of nachos  “It was a true depiction of Zero Sum game. Do you know what a Zero-Sum game is? ”

cooking GIF
Ballwinder gets a chick when he breaks an egg.

“Yes.” I said, thinking that the sum of any two things is zero. How hard could it be. Hello! I know what I am talking about.

Pizza Gerry GIF by TAXI Ad Agency

Wait a second. “6-1=5 ; How is it sum zero?”  I realized while rechecking the score of England Panama. I asked while gulping my fear of the known..”But ….How…?”

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But….uh oh. 

Ballwinder smiles, acknowledging my nervousness after a 3 second stint of ultra cleverness.

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Don’t worry. I know you are a git.

Ballwinder sits down with his platter of Nachos, picks up a Nacho and sweeps it across the dip and starts munching. He then ordains,
“When you win against someone. You are happy. The one who loses is sad. Thereby maintaining the overall balance of happiness and sadness. Your happiness and your opponent’s sadness when added gives you a Zero-Sum. English fans were deprived of this happiness and pleasure for ages. They would always witness the opponents celebrating on their loss. Imagine the amount of grief and sorrow they must have been bearing for all this while and just today, they have virtually given it all back with compounding interest. Countries from two continents were taken down by the English. The magic number being 5”

I win when you lose.

“What exactly does that have to do with English fans who were surprised by their enormous victory in the World Cup last evening!? And two continents? Which two continents? North America and Central America?? And what is this magic number 5”, I won’t surrender this time. I will clarify all my existential doubts.


Nicolas Cage Film GIF
Two Continents? Magic number 5? Wait..What?



Ballwinder replies, “Now listen carefully.”

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When Ballwinder speaks, you should carefully listen.

“Last evening England won its game. In two different sports. England won against Panama which falls in North America. Right?”

England beat Panama (6-1=5)

England also won against Australia, which is also a continent. And the Aussies lost the series 5-0.”

Sam Curran of England celebrates after dismissing Ashton Agar
Whitewash (5-0=5)

“Not only the football fans, but even the cricket fans of England were happy. Then there were people who were double happy for winning at both the sports thereby transferring their age old sorrows of losing, to the two continents which are diagonally opposite to each other. And these victories came at the margin of 5 each. Therefore maintaining the Zero-Sum game in the global context.”


Image result for England football fans reactions 2018
Football Fans
The Barmy Army are renowned for supporting England on overseas tours all over the world
Barmy army

I was left baffled by his intelligence.

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Mr Ballwinder is a genius.

“But Ballwinder Paaji, do you really think that just this one day can balance all the disappointment and heart breaks of English fans for all these years? I am sure it can compensate the last decade but what about the decade before that?” I again asked in my innocence.

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Do you really think ?

“Don’t be silly”, said Ballwinder, while licking his fingers after finishing his mega plate of Nachos.

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Don’t Be Silly

“That’s when the English organize the Royal Wedding”, quipped Ballwinder.

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Doing it just for you lads!