I grown up in a neighborhood of working-class families that lived under the same roof. Regardless of the background, ethnicity, education, preferences, and everyday struggles, there was this sense of one-ness. Few things were as exhilarating and festivity-inducing as the India’s cricket matches. I remember the take-no-prisoner-craze and interest bestowed on cricket, and the integral part it played in the lives of so many men, rich and poor, young and old. None could match the degree of bondage that had been forged during the day-long cricket match. One of the sweetest ingredients that used to enhance the experience of this family-cricket-dish was the timely and creative Fevicol ads that used to come during commercial breaks. They used to spark a torrent of laugh and humor among all the cricket watchers, even during trying times.
After all these years, I couldn’t help but hold my breath in awe when I watch them.
The creative strategy of Fevicol has always been to rise above the physical bonding of tables and chairs, and instead bond with the consumers by taking a strategy that is metaphorical. These gems by Fevicol over the years will prove it :
Who can forget the ad that shows a curious cook trying to break an egg. Little did he know…
How can we not remember this brainy fish catcher?!
Or this memorable ad that gave us the sure shot way of tackling mischievous toddlers.
Shadows follow us, or do they?
The one where we kept wondering how they didn’t fall off the bus, but then again, we knew why.
Classic Fevicol. Classic Rajkumar Hirani.
All great cricketers have that one shot that looks less like an effort and more like an extension of their being: Sachin Tendulkar’s straight drive; Ricky Ponting’s pull and hook; Brian Lara’s slice through cover; Rahul Dravid’s forward defence. For Kumar Sangakkara, it is the cover drive. Few batsmen ever looked more attractive than while playing a perfectly executed drive through cover, but Sangakkara transcended them all.
John Keats famously wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness…” His lines could well have been about Sangakkara’s cover drive. When playing his trademark cover drive, Sangakkara did not merely hit the ball; he somehow simultaneously thrashed and caressed the ball with the cold efficiency of a hitman and the soft tenderness of a renaissance artist. No matter the bowler or the pitch, if Sangakkara was in his zone the ball would dash to the boundary more often than not.
What stood out about Sangakkara’s cover drive was his balance. Sangakkara was equally capable of playing the shot while resting partially on his back foot, or off the tips of his toes, or in the more conventional manner off the front foot. If the ball was close to the stumps he would play caress it with a straighter bat. If there was a bit of width, the bat came down almost horizontally; but never was he not in complete control. The bat always started from just under his shoulder, and usually ended well above his head, but the ball rarely went more than a few inches above the ground.
A perfectly executed Sangakkara cover-drive truly is a thing of beauty. The cricketing world will be poorer to never watch it again after the Test against India at the P Sara Oval in Colombo last year in August, but the memory of that pristine batting artistry will forever resonate in the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to have watched it live. They say Wally Hammond had an imperious cover drive, but if it was better than Sangakkara’s, it must have been outrageously good.
Thank you, Sanga, for all the memories.