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Bombay’s Cricket Crazy Indians

by Gaurav Sethi

Colaba, the day after.
I can’t sleep. I can’t watch TV either. There is too much unnecessary reality in both. I’d rather be at Wankhede right now, I need my fix of bottle banging, name calling, don’t you want to see him too? Shouldn’t we all just go to work every day there, start our day at 5:45 am, with the sole aim to source tickets for the days’ play? And what if, like Namya or Crownish or Bonny or Mr Z you can help someone get in, without asking for a rupee in return, what could be better?

How could Crownish volunteer to take a train from the outskirts, 90 minutes away, to meet me at VT, to hand me a ticket. How could Namya, work my tickets from meetings in London, so I could pick them from three and a half minutes from where I was staying?  And Bonny, calling every man and kid he knows to get me a tick, “from her balcony you can watch the match, they even sell tickets for that now”. And Mr Z, in between nebulizers and oxygen masks catches his breath, asks for the phone, “Let’s get Gaurav a ticket”. Mr Z holds my hand from Delhi so I can walk into Wankhede.

I was there. Like hell I was. Not on an assignment but a mission. I have watched him bat before, I wanted to see us all play again, and like hell we did, oh man, how we played. We were good. He said so. He will never forget us. We made it all worthwhile that day, and the day after that, and yeah, the day after that. We were that good.

But what now? What will we do? How will we return to a life where tickets to Wankhede are easy again?

First day: I’m in a cab, our rendezvous keeps changing. From JJ hospital to the second bus stop to a sweet shop round the corner. There he is. Just like that. With two tickets. I place them in the recesses of my cargos. I feel empowered, almost tempted to ask the cops about the security arrangements.

I’m in.

The North Stand. I spend a few hours changing seats till I navigate Subash from J, 3rd level, staircase 9 to gate 12, 2nd row from back. Between a US number, WhatsApp and dodgy connections, looks like this is going to take 24 years.  In spite of that, we meet before the Windies die on us.

Second Day: I will be watching with my friend’s dad. We jump the queue, my greys get us in fast. Later Mahek, Subash, Jigar, Aditya are there too. And so is he.

Third Day: Keith gets in. We all were, we all were.

And just like that he was out of here.

Guess I know why I started the blog five years’ back: for these three days.

Thank you, guys.

A sling only stops you from dancing to his tune

PS: Thanks Aditya & Mahek who were on call throughout 

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