Sunday, February 05, 2006


I woke up to the Saturday morning headlines and a paper full of how India was to take on the mighty South Africans at Bangalore, with all efforts of beg-borrow-steal a ticket gone futile, I was settling down for the live telecast. And then my stars turned at noon and within 2 hours I found myself in the G-stand on Chinnaswamy stadium, thanks to my friend Srini.
My first ODI in a stadium, under lights, India on a winning streak, formidable opponents in SA, white ball, green grass, perfect ingredients for a memorable experience.
It was so much better than watching it on TV on so many counts. For one, you didn’t have that dispensable commentary, replaced by the shouts of “bharat mata ki… jai” and the “India India… clap clap clap”. The idiot box was still around in the form of the big screen showing only random replays, and a lot of commercials, and the scorecard. It is somehow weird that people have their eyes fixed on the giant screen while the match is actually happening live right there!! Talk about addiction to the idiot box. I must admit, I did scan the screen often too, so that I could see the pretty faces in the crowd that the lens captured. Guys, I think there is a big fraud here, those gals are not in the stadium, I didn’t see them at all.
I was close to the third man position on the pavilion end, which meant you can get a good view irrespective of the bowling end. The barricades separating the stands, the net to prevent the bottle throwing and all the kakhi-clad ‘spectators’ (read cops) questioned my evolution and I was feeling caged at times. At other times, it was as if I was in a coliseum, a la Gladiator style.
There was this mad rush for the one-minute-fame of being on TV. What all people do to be catch the attention of that camera.
The first half was very uneventful, no great entertainment. I remember I yawned a few times too. Then the lights came on, the looong lunch ended and the Indians came on to bat. The stadium was packed (not uncomfortable, I must add) then. The Mexican waves (countdown for which is provided on the big screen too), the cheering, followed by the oooooooos started off. There were some real entertainers (sober?) in my stand. There was one who was dancing all the time, much to the irritation of the guys behind him and to the amusement of others. The cops were entertaining too, maybe they felt they were not getting too much attention. Once in a while, the entire battalion would move from one end of the stand to the other, catch hold of some random guy, the rest was lost coz of all the people standing to see the performance.
And despite all this security, there were cameras flashing around. And you wont believe it, junta were bursting crackers at the end of the match. And like in the matches of the 80’s the crowd from one section, ran into the field after the wining shot was played. So much for security!
Good match, good crowd, good weather… thanx srini…

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