Jan 19th 2008. It was a rainy day in London. The time must’ve been around 2.30 – 3 in the afternoon. As I stood in the balcony of the visiting team’s dressing room and hungrily took in the sights of the spectacular stadium at Lords, a series of thrills shot up and down my spine. This was it – this was where Kapil Dev held the World Cup aloft in 1983 as a nation looked up in awe and pride. This was where Saurav Ganguly pulled off his jersey and whipped it in the air screaming his head off, as India, chasing a record 326 against England, clinched what was one of the greatest one-day wins the world had ever seen. It truly was one of “the” moments of my life. Right then I decided – I had to watch India play in a cricket match – live – anywhere – anytime – at least once in my lifetime.
Exactly four months down the line, that wish has come true! The past Monday – 19th May 2008, we were out there – part of the crowd watching the IPL cricket match between Royal Challengers and Delhi Daredevils at the Chinnaswamy stadium, with a couple of friends. Though the local favorites RC lost the match (at-least there was some semblance of a fight-back unlike the total collapse we were used to till now!), thanks to the Sehwag and Gambhir blitzkrieg; the feeling of just being there amidst thousands of people, watching all the action live, from just a few feet away, was heady… to say the least! 😀
Though we started from home pretty early, the signs looked ominous – as we neared the areas surrounding the stadium, it was obvious that a heavy rain had just abated. The traffic had piled up and it took us 3 turns at the signal to be able to go past the Kasturba road junction! Nevertheless, this time was spent usefully – laughing uproariously at the histrionics of a fully-tight and topped-up uncle in an adjoining auto at the signal. He suddenly shot his hand out to compliment the friend about his excellent driving skills (which he had noted in that bumper-to-bumper kind of traffic situation) and just to be fair, he insisted on nearly diving into the car to also congratulate my hubby, seated in the front passenger seat! We were nearly rolling around with laughter as the auto-driver averted any such mishap by driving away from our car!! 🙂
We did manage to reach the stadium well in time and after parking the car in the adjoining Police Parade grounds, started the rigmarole of trying to find seats in the same stand. While two of the tickets booked online were in stand-B, the other three gotten from a colleague, were in the stand-I with a much better view. The hubby tried all possible tricks in his kitty to try and get us to sit together, but to no avail. Finally we had to settle into our normal-view seats and them into their special-view ones. Though this was a dampener, I had decided nothing was gonna stop me from enjoying the evening and also managed to infuse that into the hubby!
As we settled into our seats and took in the views inside the stadium, we were greeted by none other than Shaan, out there to entertain the spectators! This was indeed double joy – I got to listen to one of my favorite singers performing live. He sung on effortlessly, slipping from one chart-topper to another – the likes of “Jab se tere naina…”, “Koi kahe…”, “Deewangi from OSO”, “Bam bam bole… from TZP”…, he also rendered a Kannada song – “Eno on thara…” amidst loud cheers and finally wound up with his evergreen “Tanha Dil…” It was half an hour of mesmerism from the talented singer. What followed was the laser show – a display of some amazing patterns and formations brightening the inky darkness that the stadium was steeped in.
Sehwag won the toss and chose to field first and at the stroke of 8 the Delhi team took their positions as Kallis and Chipli walked out to open for the RCs.
Since this is turning out to be a longish post, unlike what I expected, we will have more of the match details and our adventures coming up in part-2! 🙂