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Friday, November 12, 2010

Fun with Uncertainty

One of biggest problem for mankind has always dealing with uncertainty. We live in a world full of uncertainties and in order to deal with it we have to take a certain set of information for granted and operate accordingly cause there is no such thing as absolute truth. This is what we call moral standard, religious guideline, principles etc.

But if used well, uncertainty can be a great source of entertainment. One of the most obvious examples would the horror or suspense movies like those of Hitchcock. These movies manipulate the audience into feeling shock, anxious etc by constantly giving limited information in an erratic unpredictable pattern. However I often use a more sinister way of manipulating people with uncertainty for only my own amusement (in a harmless way offcourse).

During the recent IPL 3, I was in Chennai to help my friend with his project. Since we didn’t have a television set there, most of us were following the matches online. Most of my roommates were supporting Mumbai while I was with Chennai who were my favourite ever since the first IPL. YouTube had provided this wonderful new feature where one could watch live and so everyone was having a great time. The only problem was that the broadcast was lagging by 10 or so mins meaning if a batsmen hits a six, the guys watching the match on YouTube would only see it 10 mins later. Another alternative was to follow the live scorecard and text commentary which didn’t have this problem but it didn’t provide the chance to watch the match. Following both was also out of the question since once u know what’s gonna happen its no longer fun to watch it, the uncertainty plays a role once again.

So unwillingly my roommates decided to opt for the YouTube broadcast. This however presented me with a wonderful opportunity to have a little fun of my own. I was following the live scorecard instead of YouTube so I was getting all the info 10 mins before them. I wasn’t much interested in watching the whole match but wanted to catch the main parts so once I saw a wicket had fell I quietly stood up went to their system to see what exactly happened. I didn’t tell them what I knew because I didn’t want to spoil their fun of watching it. Then as the wicket fell they all turned around staring at me as I was about to go back to my system.

“What u came to see the wicketaa ?”

“ya..i was following the live scorecard on my comp so…”

“oh ok ok , but don’t tell ..ok ? means wicket falling...boundary ..all that..don’t tell”

“oh ya offcourse.. no no , I wont ”

I said as I went back to my seat. At this point I should tell u that I was also playing an online flash game for time pass. I was nearing my all time high-score when suddenly game over.

“Aarghh” I groaned

Suddenly everyone turned to me

“what ? another wicket gone ? who? [Some players name] ?

“No no .. nothing happened …I was ju..”

I suddenly realised that I was in a very unusual position. At that moment, I had the information nobody else in that room had or wanted to have. And as they say, information is power. If I was to say that a wicket had fallen, they had no way to know I was wrong and would instantly believe me as long as I told it convincingly. They would wait and wait for 10 long mins hoping to see wicket which had never taken place. I imagined the moment when they realise there is no wicket coming and I am laughing my way to my seat. It was perfect.

I figured best way to do this was to act exactly the way I did before so it would seem perfectly natural and wouldn’t give rise to any suspicion. So I simply stood up and walked over there and stood behind just like before. As I had hoped, they all got excited seeing me stand there. One mallu guy elbowed another and said something in malayam pointing towards me.

“what ? what ? “

“no nothing, I am telling that u are here means something gonna happen…wicket , 6 , 4..i dunno but something gonna happen. But don’t tell ok ?”

I smiled at him as I realized how I had grossly underestimated the position I was in. It wasn’t just about the wickets, the possibilities of something exciting happening in cricket was overwhelmingly varied. I could be standing there for any damn reason and if I was to play my cards right I could convince them of anything. I could have them believe that a catch which was later called no ball and ended with run out and they would still be sitting there for 10 mins waiting for it happen. I was truly lovin’ it.

Alas I went too far this one time and soon they unwillingly started seeing the online scorecard along with the match. It was fun while it lasted though !