Thursday, November 03, 2005

Match This!

It all started with a phone call last friday...Sandeep called me up "Are Akya match la yenaar aahes ka?Aatach saang mhanje tujha pan ticket sangto!" (For non-maharastrians, literal translation "Hey akash, do you wanna come watch the match?Tell me now so i can book a ticket for you as well").....My reply was "Mhanje Kay!!!!"...(Again for non-maharashtrians, "Hell Yeah!!!")....Then i get the confirmation on Monday...Our tickets are through!...Wo!..We were going to watch the match!LIVE!!!

3rd of november was a holiday...even if it wasnt i wasnt gonna go to office...Iam not touched in the head!..For those who think what is all the fuss its just another cricket match...big deal...well....i got news...Cricket match in Pune...Nehru Stadium....India playing a top side like SL (well, not so much on top right now..but nevertheless....)...all top stars fit and playing...India 3-0 up in the series..and a chance to see Sachin, Sehwag and Co. bat in flesh in blood...well...thats what all the fuss is about!...

I woke up today at 5:30 am!..Man i havent seen what 5:30 am looks like in years!...Had my tea and got ready to leave my house by 6:20..picked up Satya (a friend)...and rode down to Grahak Peth on Tilak road to park our bikes in my friend's office building....and walked a good 1 km to Gate no. 5...the entry point for all us troopers...12 of us....and quite a motley bunch we were...ages ranging from 12 right upto 40....Now we had picked up rs. 300 tickets, the cheapest of the lot (just consider the following surnames and you shall know why Rs. 300; Apte, Gokhale, Pendse, Shrotri, Phadnis...get my drift?;o))...which was a big mistake..something on which i will elaborate we were people from all walks of life...we got to the gate at we bottles of water allowed....nothing plastic...we hadnt taken anything that didnt bother us much....and after various security checks we finally got inside the stand...and scrambled to get good seats...well...good patches of concrete...and ended up right in front of the pitch..good patches of concrete..we could see the action pretty straight...

We were settled in our seats..umm..patches by 8:00...and then sat and stared at the ground..watching the teams practice...Ladi (Nikhil) had brought along a scoring sheet and we were all poring over it...Sri Lankans in one corner and Indians in the other...the stands kept filling...and soon the start time grew nearer our stand was soon bursting at the seams...people were even sitting the was a great atmosphere around the expectant Dravid and Attapatu walked in for the toss with Ravi Shastri...and grew to a deafening roar as Dravid won the usual everybody expeccting India to bat..but Dravid chose to bowl..which created a few dissapointed faces...many people seem to think that the only reason why cricket needs to be watched is for India all is consequential..he he...but nevertheless...the innings began with roars and hoops of joy...every dot ball was being cheered...and every run being jeered...and soon Sangakarra was back on his way to the pavillion..deafening roar again...and this continued for the entire innings....cheers and jeers...mexican waves...erate spectators..which reminds me of an ugly scene..i was heading out of the stands in the middle of the Sri Lankan innings to strtch my legs a bit...and to give my butt a break...and for some stupid reason the officials had shut the exi near the place where we were we had to make out way all the way to the next enit..about 70 m from where we were sitting....and since the aisles were occupied by people as got difficult...and one grop of dadas (not remotely in the brotherly sense) refused to let us by....anyhow...we got out and back...with considerable difficulty..and amidst a lot of foul language and curses...but then...the cricket is worth all this!.he he..

Anyways, after teh lankan innings ended, lunch was merely a formality..a vada pav..being sold at Rs. 10 about stadium robbery!...and a few biscuits and oily samosas...a complete meal right?..he he...and due to a scarcity of good water....we had rasna....better than jostling with a few hundred people for buying Pepsi...anyhow, our hunger satiated (temporarily i might add), we sat down to stave off a hunger of another kind..a hunger to see Viru and Sachin to cart the Lankan bowlers all over the park...

The innings started..slowly at first..and then very slowly..and then Sachin got out..after a few lucky edges...Pindrop Silence!...the entire stadium went HUSH!....this is still the "shock & awe"; read respect and expectation the man comnmands...well he was replaced ny Yuvraj on the crease...who poked around a bit and then got out as well..anyways..soon things settled down after "The Wall" came in.....and then thirst pangs began to strike we sent one of the kids in our group to fetch some water....and went he did...and came back with 20 pouches of water...for 100 right?...he he..nways...we opened them up thirstily like desert wanderers...only to find that the water tasted like liquid was that bad!...2 sips and 20 pouches were thrown right back into the box they were brought in...Sick!..

Anyways, as the innings prgressed it all resumed, the cheers, the jeers, the mexican waves...the pindrop when Sehwag fell on 48 and Dravid on was all there!..and at 190/6 all the people had worried looks on their faces..will we?...or wont we?...well..Mr. M S Dhoni had the answer..WE WILL!..and he made sure we style..finshing off the match with a couple of HUGE hits straight back down the ground..a treat to watch!

Soon we had left the stadium after the presentation..our butts head aching...hunger ruling the roost..but warmth in our hearth...that India had won!..and won convincingly...All the bad arrangements, dirty spectators, uncouth youths, hard steps, tepid water, expensive vada pavs were forgotten in this joy!

However we all came out of the stadium with a unanimous time..BUY THE Rs. 1500/- tickets!;o)