mayanti langer

Missing Mayanti Langer: It Isn’t The Same These Days!

Why on earth do we over-rate the human brain? It is incompetent in matters of the heart. Conveniently taking a back-seat or in some cases, it resorts to escaping from the narrow lane when emotions take over our sensibilities. Fit and anger compel us to make strange decisions. In fact, most emotions do except the soft ones. What’s more fatal is the non-realization of its consequences in the spur of the moment! Love and loneliness are farcical though. These ones are two-faced, the repercussions of deeds in response to them can be even more severe. And the best way to measure the audacity of your past actions is to try replicating them in the present. Does your consciousness issue alert signs at the mere prospect of it? If it did, you must have been under the influence of these two ‘L’ lettered emotions.

A close shave that day!

Let me take you back to a sultry Sunday afternoon of August‘17. After a month’s break, Star Sports was back again with the live cricket broadcast. The rights of the preceding series were owned by their competitors. So, for those who were smitten by Mayanti’s magic, the month-long wait felt like ages. But as luck would have it, ‘Priorities’ popped up to say ‘Hello!’ I had a weekly test at my coaching center clashing with the pre-match show. I couldn’t sacrifice the former for the latter, even though I wanted to. Dilemmas of student life, they say!

I wrapped up the test in half the allotted duration. No achievement this. Actually, I saved on my doodling and daydreaming time. It was a PCM paper – Hope, you understand the dynamics now. I collected my bag and bounced on the staircases. In the urge to catch the live-action, I misguided the autorickshaw driver on my way back home. He was appalled as I confessed we had skipped the connecting fly-over. Maybe it was the hot and humid weather. Or maybe he needed to reach his home early too. Anyway, he dropped me then and there and zoomed off.   

Stranded with no alternate ride nearby, I decided to walk back. Then, the eagerness got my feet pumping. Visualize this frame – A 17-year-old boy huffing and puffing in a full-sleeve shirt and jeans, his bag dangling across, running on the edge of the bridge with trucks and carriers speeding past him. Onlookers must have sympathized and contemplated an emergency situation. It was an embarrassment. It could have been accidental too. Love drove me that day. Longingness made me take that leap of faith. A step I surely won’t repeat today. More mature now? No. It’s called the slow death of innocence.

It wasn’t the only time I endured a mortifying situation for the lady in the question. On my visits to the Wankhede stadium, other spectators have looked down upon me. (Like the way you might, while reading this piece). It’s acceptable to express fandom by screaming your lungs out for your favourite cricket star. It isn’t much noticeable too, as thousands of other die-hard fans will match your frequency. But, I become the odd one out when I cheer for her, hours before the atmosphere starts to buzz. The small crowd which arrives early first gives me a stare, then one long look is aimed at her (rather at her dress). And thus, begins my character assassination!

My Admiration – Neither Hollow Nor Shallow!

To encompass an illustrious body of work that spans more than 15 years, in few lines or even paragraphs, is more of a disgrace than being an infeasible task. Her work profile is so sacrosanct. Well, she interviewed the then FIFA president Sepp Blatter on his visit to India’07. A reality which many aspiring media professionals can only dream of. Hope I don’t need to boast more of her credentials now, or do I?

Mayanti Langer Interviews Sepp Blatter

An argument in order – Mandira Bedi is often regarded as the Indian pioneer of the female foray into cricket television. However, she dwells in movies and serials space too. And before her prelude to the famous World Cup’03 stint, she had made a name for herself on the showbiz scene. Mayanti is unique in this aspect. All she did and continues to do so is sports broadcasting. It’s only in a recent couple of years that she has started to feature in brand campaigns. But no cameos in reality shows. A strict no!

And that’s the primal reason why she continues to hold the fort. She breaks the mould of the conventional zero waistlines or the typical pretended accents. An astute speaker owing to prowess in the English language, she seemingly draws the conversation forward without wearing the hat of an analyst. Hence, she is highly spoken of by her colleagues like Dean Jones or Kevin Pieterson, who also happen to be legends of the game. (They surely know a thing or two about excellence). On 8th February, she’ll be turning 36 – An age when not single but double the shelf life gets exhausted, her shoes (rather sandals) still haven’t found a replacement!

How often we frown upon when we are asked to do an extra shift of work? Or travel on odd hours for official purposes. This is her daily routine. Add to that, the deprivation of social life. It’s absolutely alright until here because this is what she has subscribed to, by choice and not by compulsion. What she hasn’t is the hatred dumped on her without any rhyme or reason. She takes her trollers & her husband’s too (Stuart Binny is an international cricketer) in her stride. But the occasional response is posted when the internet gangsters go down the dirty drain. Otherwise, she simply smiles through these unwritten ‘T&C’s of her profession.

Please return to home…Again!

Currently, a bottle of milk has replaced the usual microphone in her hand. The tablet on her lab has also made way for her newborn son. Yes, she is on maternity leave. The new recruits are equally skilled. No two ways about that! Maybe it’s an innate tendency to resist change that has sucked the excitement of being glued to the TV, at times when live cricket takes a pause. Wishing that she graces her home (the studios) & our living rooms soon and this anecdote repeats itself:

Back in December’13 – After a rather bland day in school, I returned home with a spring in my step! The reason behind my sudden mood swing was simple – ‘Dawn Of A New Era’ was going to unfold as it was India’s first test assignment post-Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement. By flinging the bag and kicking out the shoes, I grabbed hold of the remote and screamed ‘Mummy, serve the lunch!’ The desired channel tuned in, the next few moments dazzled me as I noticed a female anchor at the center stage (A pleasant surprise). She was hosting the customary pre-match build-up with such panache and poise. I had to rub my eyes to come to terms with the fact that someone was infusing charm and exuberance into ‘Test Match’ coverage, which is deemed to be dull and unexciting or ‘For the old’ as they say. A quick Google search revealed that she goes by the name ‘Mayanti Langer’ – A name that has struck me ever since!

Featured Image: Mayanti Langer Binny | Instagram

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