Just another brain-dead techie with views on everything under the sun!

Friday, October 11, 2002

A day at Wankhede...

The other day when Amrita said that she'd gone to Wankhede stadium to see the match, I sighed and wished that I could go too! But office beckoned and the prospect of leaving the house early in the morning to go and stand in the ticket-queue was simply not appealing enough! All I could manage was another sigh... and life continued!

So, as soon as I reached home, imagine my joy when my father thrust two passes, to the Garware Pavilion at the Wankhede stadium, in my face!! Well... what do you know?!!... a wish come true!! (I thought... damn! I should've wished for something grander than this!!) ;-)

So, thats how I found myself being frisked by the policeman at the Vinoo Mankad Gate of the stadium, the next day i.e. yesterday. The security was tight and I had to walk through a metal detector followed by a manual frisking. While being frisked, the constable's hands found the pack of Alpenliebe that I was carrying in my pocket. He immediately demanded to know what it was and so I handed over the pack to him for a closer examination.

"Chinggum nahi chalega sahab!"

"Arre yeh chewing-gum nahi hai", I tried to explain, "lekin, chewing gum kyu nahi cahlta?"

"Ab kya bolega sahab, public chinggum khaake seat per chipka deta hai", he lamented.

"Ohhh, achcha!... aap yeh khaake dekho na, yeh chewing-gum nahi hai!!", I offered him the caramel candy from the pack, which he promptly palmed and gestured me to proceed towards the stadium. I complied and made my way to the stands where I chose the best possible seat and made myself at home and settled down to watch the players practising on the ground just before the scheduled start of the day's proceedings!

The play started at its scheduled time and almost before people coming in had settled down, Sachin Tendulkar, in a moment of lost concentration cut a ball too close to his body and was caught behind. The boisterous crowd, eager to see pyrotechnics from the bat of the veteran of 101 tests, was stunned into silence. More silence followed a few minutes later as Saurav Ganguly got a contentious LBW decision and had to return back to the dressing room, leaving Rahul Dravid a.k.a. The Wall at the crease with VVS Laxman. The two then batted sensibly, trying to recover from a precarious position.

While the cricket continued on the ground at a snail's pace, the crowd tried to amuse themselves by jeering Dillon and Cuffy. Some common slogans and chants were... "Dillon is a bastard!", "Dillon sucks!", "Dillon is a homo!", "Sabse gora bachcha kaun... Cuffy - Cuffy!!", "Inky Pinky Ponky... Cuffy is a donkey!". It was quite juvenile and asinine on the part of the crowd to insult the visitors this way!! Dillon just added fuel to the fire by surreptitiously showing the finger to the spectators. Surreptitiously... because he didn't want the TV cameras catching him in the act!

As the action on the ground slowed down to a crawl, I busied myself with one of my favourite outdoor activity... people-watching! Well, some people watch birds... some watch wild animals... I watch (or rather observe) people! Don't get me wrong!... this isn't staring or ogling!... Its more like an academic observation. Oh well! ... I dunno if I can explain, what it is!... so forget it!

The man seating immediately in front of me was an immensely corpulent gentleman who was reading Irving Stone's biography of Michelangelo, The Agony and the Ecstasy. He was also sipping on a glass of Mirinda as he toggled his attention between reading the book and following the cricket. Suddenly, Javagal Srinath replied to Cuffy's stare, by hoisting a belligerent six over long-off. The man set his book and the soft-drink down on the seat and jumped up to clap and cheer Srinath. A fly that was hovering in the vicinity, saw its chance and landed on the rim of the glass. The lure of the brightly coloured Mirinda proved to be too much to resist as it started its descent into the glass by going around the inside surface like a motorcycle rider does inside the Maut-ka-Kua in a fair. It had almost reached the liquid, when the man had enough of cheering and sat down heavily on the seat... picked up the glass and downed the remaining Mirinda in a single gulp! ... Poor fly!!

Among the vast multitude of people, my eyes were drawn towards someone who was arguably the cutest girl in the Garware Pavilion! She was gorgeous!!... and she sat about four rows directly in front of me. She was sitting with her boy-friend and a few other friends. Everytime she smiled, her entire face lit up and she looked even more cute!... if that was possible! ;-)

On second thoughts though, the cutest girl in the entire Garware Pavilion sat right next to me on her father's lap!! She must've been not more than 3 or 4 years old and she was listening wide-eyed to her father's explanation of the nuances of cricket.... bowling, batting, boundaries, wickets... etc! Everytime she saw something on the field that her father had just taught her... she would excitedly point it out to him with a cherubic smile on her face! ... :-))

Well, back to the action on the field... Dravid just about managed to complete his century (can you believe it!!... his fourth on the trot!!), before he cramped up and collapsed on the ground due to dehydration and exhaustion. He was carried off the field and had to be put on a drip so that he could be re-hydrated and could regain his lost strength. That marked an end to a typical Rahul Dravid innings... gritty, patient and invaluable!

In the evening, at close of play, West Indies found themselves in trouble having lost two wickets without many runs on the board. I returned home exhausted... in small part due to the extremely hot weather and largely due to the shouting and clapping I did during the day. After a bath, I slept till mom called for dinner. After the dinner, a quick check-up of the emails I had got during the day and then it was back to the bed as I could barely keep my eyes open!

All in all... a day well spent and a day definitely worth bunking the office! ;-)

Ok then... just before I sign off for the day... a Get Well Soon wish for Suku who is down with fever and exhaustion!!



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Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.