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What did Kumble do

by Gaurav Sethi

Most of my life in ad agencies was spent looking for a television to watch cricket. For three and a half years in Anthem this worked well. The backdoor exit led to the smokers’ space from where a flight of stairs led to Mini Mahal’s bar, a den for Indian and Pakistani cricketers in the 90s. I mostly made it there with my morning cigarette and coffee. Often as early as 9:30 am when the place was still being mopped. I’ve even knocked hard for them to open their side entrance so I could watch the day’s play begin. 

February 8, 1999, the day after Kumble’s 10 wickets. I was compelled to go and congratulate the bartender at Mini Mahal. So there I was at the bar at 10 am with my coffee. He was still cleaning up but happy to fill me up on yesterday evening - apparently the Pakistani team was over after the match. He excitedly talked about who wore what, who drank what, who was very “SMAAART”, who kept to himself and his wife. 

And then Waqar walked up to him, asking why he had yesterday’s match highlights on. Bartender laughs, pulls Waqar’s leg some, to which W says, “Kal toh Kumble ne hamari ** **** di!!”  I did run into my bartender friend a few years’ later at a place called BED. I reminded him of the W incident, he pretty much repeated it verbatim. 

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