Cricket's been just a game for me, but Sachin, He's all I have gained by wasting those innumerable hrs in front of TV, and perhaps many more singing his praises. The kind of satisfaction I get when he reaches a milestone can be compared to any I have had at my own achievements. Nothing more would I want out of cricket if I get to get a glimpse of His majestic self in flesh and blood.
A non-descript day brought with itself an irresistible pass to fulfillment of a long lost desire. A desire, which had always bred itself in the corner of my heart without ever forcing itself to the fore. A desire, which I knew would get fulfilled someday, but that the Day had come calling on me so suddenly utterly swept me off my feet. A stroke of luck all I can say. This opportunity had fallen from heaven directly into my lap. Only a fool would have let that go. And when it comes to Cricket, I am no fool. Thanks to Abhinav, off I was with four colleagues(Akash, Chaya, Sandip and Namrata) to watch a D/N IPL encounter between Royal Challengers, Bangalore and Delhi DareDevils, the debut match for me. The kind of excitement it brought along on our faces was something words cannot express. It was a fairytale for me. And the princess awaited me. To meet the Princess, the Prince had to cross “the seven seas”. We too had to. A sea, it literally was, of people, all waiting to get their share of the Princess. Pushing and shoving would not deter us nor would the canes of security personnel. Time was running out and the match could get underway any moment. Pre-match events were already nearing completion. Colorful confetti flowing all around, sparkling crackers brightening up the sky, deafening music flowing from all over the place and incessant huge roars coming from inside the stadium made us more aware of what we were missing. And there we were, stuck in a blind alley, standing in the middle of a non-ending serpentine queue, unaware of what fate held for us. A match or no-match. We were steadily losing hope. Things sped up, we do not how, as we inched closer to the main entry .We did manage finally, but not without great discomfort, in hindsight I should say. But then, if dreams materialized so easily, would they be worth their salt??? Through with the security check in a flash, flying, we were all inside the stadium in a moment. Few stairs and there we were…….
It was a different world altogether. How was I to believe what stood in front of me? A world more pristine than any of my mundane thoughts could ever carve. It was all too perfect to be true. With unflustered gaze, I stood there filling in my ever-craving senses, but the visual splendors on exhibition were too many to be ingested in one go. To remain unfazed with what lay in front of me was beyond me. Beautifully lit stadium, outfield all bright and green, rocking Bhangra, cheerleaders, maverick fans screaming atop their voice, who would not love this sight???? I would be belying my true feelings, if I do not admit how mesmerizing and fulfilling the first glance was. There was this unabated surge of excitement oozing out which literally had my body and heart swaying and swirling. Dumbstruck we all were to speak and perhaps we all wanted to say the same thing as one could read out from our palpably excited faces.
I had been stumped before a ball could be bowled and so were my colleagues. How amazing it was to be with people all united by the passion they held for the game and equally intoxicated by the mirth and fervour it had brought along. It was a moment when I, of all the people I, was going to be a part of the history making. When people would ask me, did u see the match between Royal Challengers and Delhi Daredevils, how proud I would feel to say, I was there in the stadium itself watching it unfold. Suddenly it dawned on me that those watching live feeds, with all the comforts of their rooms, actually had a cast-off experience, being fed on things discarded by the stadium-spectators. After all the stadium-spectators had the unwritten right to first use. They, I thought, were mere passive spectators incapable of scripting a twist in the tale. And those present in the stadium, yelling despite their parched throat, could very well dictate the course of the match. I had heard of ‘standing ovation’ being given to players. It proved out to be so true, and why not when people would not rest their back even for a second for the entire duration. There can be endless arguments about which cricketer the world loves the most. I love Sachin, let there be no bones about it, come what may. But what do u have to say when for every shot a Dravid or a Kallis played, people merrily swayed and chanted Sachin’s name. What more would a die-hard Sachin fan want. Sachin….Sachin…Sachin, all one could hear. It started with our group leading the way but gradually caught with, arguably, the whole of East Stand. To be standing in a 10 meter proximity to an international cricketer is a celebrated achievement in its own right, so what if the player happened to be Wasim Jaffer. Wouldn’t have I fainted had it been Sachin? How dearly I wish it were Him, the little maestro.