Nov 23, 2005

One day@the cricket stadium

A memorable day it was. Third day of the third test match between India and Australia in Chennai. The day before, Sudha (my brother) and I were so desperate to go for the match. Thank God, both of us had study holidays during that time. So no need to bunk college. We departed from our home at 5.30 am. Reached the stadium at 6.45 am. To our shock, there was a huge crowd with the queue going far and far from our sight, waiting for the tickets and on top of that, not even a single girl in that queue. I walked slowly towards the end of the queue, uncertain of whether we would get the tickets.

A policeman called me all of a sudden. I got so scared. "Is the cricket match only for men? Are women banned from this place? Why is this policeman calling me?", with puzzled looks, I walked upto him. He said, "There is a separate queue for women. You need not stand in this long queue". "Where is the queue?", I asked with a low tone. He pointed me towards the ticket counter. Not even a single women in that queue. I was so excited that I thanked the police uncle and rushed to the counter, got 2 tickets worth 100 each and ran towards my brother. Both of us entered the stadium so proudly as though we have accomplished something great.

After the security checks, we entered our stands. The ground looked amazing with a layer of dew drops on the fresh green grass. I ran towards the end of the stand, as close as possible towards the ground and occupied a chair in the first row. Sudha warned me that as day goes by, it would become very hot. But I ignored his warning and decided to sit in the front row the whole day.

Entered our cricket team and the mighty Aussies for net practice. As soon as we saw Sachin, we started shouting "Sachiiiiiiiiin Sachiiiiiiin". He didn't even give a glance at our side. Very busy practicing for the match, I thought. A round of Biscuits, kadalai (groundnuts) and murukku, we are done with our breakfast. Slowly the crowd was building up in the stadium. At 8.30, the stadium was almost full. The match started in an hour's time. India was batting their first innings after Aussies posted 300+. I remember vaguely that India's score at the start of the day was 30/1. After a few overs, the second wicket went down and the entire stadium was so jubiliant to welcome the master blaster.

Initially Sachin was playing slowly, taking singles and occasional 4s while we, the crowd were doing rounds of Mexican wave. It was fun, actually. Our energy levels were so high, looking at the people gathered. Slowly, Sachin gathered momentum and was smashing 4s of Shane Warne's bowling. Justin Langer was standing closer to our stands and people behind me were waving hands and saying hello to him. When he turned towards my side, I gave a vanakkam (namaste) in a typical Indian style and he gave a vanakkam back. The crowd was saying "Ooooooooo" while I was blushing.

Another round of Biscuits, kadalai (groundnuts) and murukku, lunch is over. When Sachin was in his 80s, he hit the ball in the air towards our side. Michael Slater standing closer to us was about to catch the ball when we shouted "booooooo". Poor guy, I guess he got tensed and he dropped the catch. He turned back and stared at us. On 94, Sachin hit a six and reached his 100. What a shot !!!

The wickets fell down later and we got to leave the stadium before the entire crowd starts leaving. Although people might argue that it's more comfortable sitting at home and watching the match, I would definitely say that watching a cricket match live in a stadium is a wonderful experience. All cricket fans must experience this atleast once in their lifetime. Overall, it was a memorable day for me which I would cherish forever.........

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