My alarm shouts. Its 6:36 AM.
“Damn. I’ve got to get up. I might be late for the work today. Why? Why God Why? Why do I need to get up every day and go to work? Can’t I sit at home?” I crib today. I did the same yesterday. I do it every day. I will do it tomorrow as well. No, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is Saturday.
“One more day, just one more day” I somehow get ready and force myself into the local train. I hate my job.
“Wow. I got the window seat today” I am joyous. It is as big an achievement for people living in Mumbai as it is for a virgin to lose IT. I pretend to read the newspapers and think “Why do I have to do it?” I hate my job. I sleep within 10 minutes. Not for nothing a window seat in a local train is the most coveted seat in Mumbai. Sorry Mr. Chief Minister, your seat comes second.
Next station Churchgate, agla station Churchgate, Pudhil sthanak Churchgate. Announcement buzzes in my ears.
I need to get up and rush to catch a cab now. “Why?” I keep complaining till I turn right. And as I turn right, something happens. It all changes as if I have been Portkeyed to a completely new world.
On my right is Wankhede Cricket Stadium, hardly 20 meters away and waiting. It’s waiting to be filled. It’s waiting for the purpose of its reincarnation to be fulfilled. It’s waiting for 2:30 PM, April 2, 2011, Saturday.
I forget about my job. I forget my complaints. I forget about the life in Mumbai. I forget everything. From the state of unhappiness in life, I reach the state of uncertainty about the future which unfolds tomorrow. I am lost, completely lost.
I reach office. The daily rut starts. Meetings, discussions, work, this, that and everything. But I am oblivion to all of it. I am in a completely different world. Remember, I was Portkeyed?
All I am thinking is about tomorrow. What will happen tomorrow? Are we going to win it? Is Sachin going to get a dream retirement – 100th century in a world cup final in Mumbai, hitting the winning runs, getting MOM, lifting the trophy and announcing his retirement from ODIs?
Or it will be Murali who gets the dream retirement? But Murali has already got one dream retirement in tests, hasn’t he? Okay he is a legend. He deserved it. But how many times? Has God reserved all the rewards for greatness for just one person? Isn’t Sachin great? Doesn’t he deserve anything? Or maybe he himself, being God, will decide it tomorrow. I feel nervous, very nervous.
But is Murali playing? I open cricinfo to find out but it is blocked. Damn Websense.
“Bloody morons, they don’t know me. I am just too good for them.” I still manage to open the website. Vaas and Randiv have been called up as backup.
“What? Lankans have called up a debutant as a backup for Angelo Matthews?” I read the article and think “What? It's Chaminda Vaas? Hasn’t he retired?”
Angelo Matthews and Murali are not certain to play the final. So is Nehra.
“Shall we call up Venkatesh Prasad as Nehra’s back-up? Or shall we go back to the legendary Joginder Shrma?”
I start calling/pinging my friends. Everyone enquires about my wellbeing “How are you?”
“Don’t ask man, don’t ask. I m fucking nervous” I respond.
Apart from a very few, almost all of them enquired worryingly “Why? What happened? All fine”
“Oh God, I haven’t made many friends in life, have I? Do they need to ask this? Today? They haven’t come close to knowing me even after knowing me for so many years. Am I so hard to understand?” I think while explaining in detail about the reason of me being nervous.
I get a call. A client wants to meet me at Hyatt tomorrow.
“What about 11:00 AM? What do you think?”
“We will win” I say. Luckily he doesn’t hear it.
“Fine” I said. Maybe I can watch the match there till 33 overs and then rush back home. “Anything for the world cup” I thought.
Looking at my phone reminds me something. I am married. I have a son. I haven’t talked to my wife or son since last night. I must.
“But when did I get married? Ah, 2007 when rest of the world played a world cup in Caribbean. India didn’t take part in that world cup. Oh yeah. The date was 19th February, same date when this world cup started.” Portkey starts losing its effect. “When did my son come? Three days before India- Australia series started in 2008. His Namekaran was done about an hour after Kumble retired. I don’t remember the date though.” Every hash-search has its keys.
I call up my wife. She asks “What’s up?”
I reply “I am just too tense”
“Are you mad or what? There are more than 24 hours to go. Just chill and relax. We will win” she knows me. Yes she knows me.
Clock keeps ticking. People are busy at work – just a talk about the world cup here, a bet about tomorrow there.
Someone suggests about the team tomorrow “Dhoni is in such a bad form. We should drop him and play Yusuf. He can bowl off-spin too”
I start searching for Cheeka’s twitter account. May be I can convey the message to him.
Another one questions “When is the match to decide the second runners up this time?”
It’s an engrossing challenge to fight a genius. It’s impossibly suffocating to survive amidst mediocrity.
Cricinfo declares that Angelo is ruled out. Randiv replaces him.
I call up a friend to discuss. I tell him “Dude, I am too nervous. I don’t know what I will do if we win. I might cry”
“Oh. Make sure you do not watch it alone. Make sure you have a hospital’s number in your phone. Don’t go to the roof top. Don’t keep any hard objects with you. In case we lose, you might break your TV.” He suggests.
“No dude. Losing isn’t a problem. I got a taste in 2003. I am used to of it. Problem is what if we actually win. I don’t know what I will do then. Failure breaks your heart but if success has been really rare, it may result in heart failure” I was becoming philosophical.
Office becomes a bit deserted. I slip away. I notice the weather – it is not hot and humid by Mumbai standards, nice breeze is blowing from west, there is a tiny bit of cloud in the sky and overall it’s nice.
I board the train. It starts. Wankhede comes – on my left this time. It looks lot better than what it looked two years ago – even if you watch it from a train.
I cannot see what is inside the stadium. But I know what it holds. It holds suspense. It holds future. It holds the answer to the question – What shall I be doing in less than 24 hours from now?