Saturday, December 28, 2013

Diaries down under, Part 9 – The SCG visit!!!

What are cricket grounds, really? Just a circular piece of land covered with grass and a bit of baldness in the centre? Piece of land where batsmen bat, bowlers bowl, umpires officiate and English celebrate by relieving themselves?

Put a bit of seating capacity around that very same piece of land and they become stadiums. But that's about it. That's what they are.

If you are an aficionado of the game, stadiums mean much more than a grassy piece of land surrounded by some seats.

They are the nuts and bolts of the vault dedicated to the game of cricket on your memory bank. They're the nails using which you hang the canvas of nostalgia related to the game.
In the three Ws, who, when and where, stadiums are where.

Stadiums are the stages where you would have imagined yourself performing - in childhood when becoming a cricketer was a realistically achievable dream to a child's uncontrollable mind. You would surely have done it multiple times - each performance being inspired by the performance of your hero.
Oh that upper cut by Tendulkar in Centurion or his handling of Warne in Chepauk. That's square cut of Dravid which won us Adelaide test. Dada's towering sixes in Taunton.

If not this, you surely remember the matches.

You don't? Really?

Does Eden ring a bell? 2001?

You surely remember Lords for variety of reasons - be it hype around it to Kapil lifting the world cup in 1983 to Ajit Agarkar's maiden century. No Indian ground has given us as many contrasting emotions of extremes as Chepauk has - Warne's demolition in 1998 to heartbreak against Pak in 1999 to Cricket's way of making people smile after horrendous 26/11 in 2008. Eden may challenge this though - we saw Kambli cry in despair 1996, we saw 100k people jumping in joy in 2001. Then, there is Barbados - 1997. There is Headingly - 2002. Oh yes, there is Wankhede - 2011.

List can go on and on. My point is, cricket stadiums are much more than what they look like. They surely are.

For that very reason, I wanted to visit Sydney Cricket Ground or SCG as it’s fondly known. While I had taken the tour of MCG earlier, SCG is something I couldn't have missed.

Right from the childhood, I've always liked SCG for no apparent reason. I had never been there, seen it only in papers, on TV yet I liked it.

I don't know when or why it happened.

Maybe it was in 1992 when I learned that SCG offered the only turning track in Australia hence India's best chances of winning - we nearly won too. Maybe I liked it because in that series, SCG was the only ground where our batsmen could score.

Maybe it was because India won in 1992 world cup against Pakistan.

Maybe it was the beautiful view of Member's stand while sun goes to lighten up the other part of hemisphere - oh it looks absolutely picturesque on TV.

I always liked Sydney. I always wanted to visit this ground.

"Walk till you reach the crossing of Martin Place and Elizabeth Street, take Bus number 373, ask the driver to drop you at the stop nearest to SCG. The tour begins at 11. Don't be late" is what the instructions I got from my friend. Since everyone else was busy, I had decided to visit the ground alone.
"Tickets please" are the words I heard as soon as I entered the Bus. Alas, driver wasn't Merv Hughes.
"I've to go to SCG. What tickets should I buy?" I asked.

"Sorry mate. You can't buy the tickets in the bus. You've got to buy them before boarding" was his reply.

"Oh. Okay. I will get down"

"Hold on. You're lucky that you can buy tickets in this bus. But be mindful of this thing next time. Things are getting modernized in this city"

"Thanks" I said and the journey started.

By the time I got down from the bus, it was ten minutes to eleven and stadium still looked at least 200 meters away. To add to my woes, I didn't know from which gate of the stadium I would get the tour tickets.

I brisk walked to one of the gates. I asked couple of staff members standing there, "Hi. I'm here for the SCG tour. Where can I buy the tickets?"

One of them responded, "Sorry mate, I think they've closed the tours now so that they can prepare the ground for the next match"

"You think or you know?" I asked back in a stern voice. I always wanted to see the stadium from inside and when my turn was there for the taking, I wasn't going to be turned down. At least not so easily.

"Check at the reception mate. Keep walking towards you left for 300 meters" was the reply.

I almost started to run. I was worried that if I reach too late, I might miss the tour. Next tour was at 2:00PM and I was supposed to leave Sydney for Melbourne by 3:00PM. Possibilities of missing my chance to see the ground were increasing with every second.

While I was searching for reception area, I kept passing different gates. Every gate I passed by, I expected it to THE gate I was looking for but it was all closed. I had to really resist the temptation of sneaking through inside the stadium through the only open gate I saw.

Finally I managed to locate the reception.

"You are late. They've left" I was told.

"Hand over me the ticket and tell me where to go. I will catch up" I sounded determined.

"Let me see. Here's your ticket. Follow me. Quick" she said.

We managed to catch the tour group. They had all assembled in a room.

"Don't worry. All you've missed is a video" the tour guide told me.

"I'm here to see it all live" I smiled back.

It started.

Although MCG looks to be a more modern stadium with better facilities as compared to SCG, MCG can't still match the beauty - look of the member's stand is just serene.

The dressing rooms still look like coming straight out of 70s. Then there is Bradman - his bat, his baggy green, his handwritten note. If one is visiting SCG in expectations of catching up with some history, he wouldn't be disappointed for sure.
SCG was worth a visit.

Finally, I was out of the ground. I looked back at the stadium. It didn't look as unfamiliar as it used to till now.
A long pending visit had been made. An item in the bucket list had been ticked.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Diaries down under, Part 8 – The Swaminomics!!!!

Well, I cannot divulge exact details so bit of dramatization has been made to compensate for maintaining secrecy to comply with organizational policies. I hope the soul of this conversation hasn’t change. Oh yes, this is a work of fiction. Completely.

Venue – some meeting room

Time – sometime around EOD

Attendees – Bosses and the masses (referred as Big Boss, Majhala Bossand, Chhota Boss…and Masses M1, M2 respectively)

Majhala Boss- M1, you were supposed to complete the installation by last week. Is it done?

M1 – Nope.

Majhala Boss – What the hell is stopping you?

M1 – There are some issues. I have finally got the contact of a guy who will help us out in getting the issue resolved.

Big Boss – And who is this piped piper of yours?

M1 – There is a guy called Swami. I talked to him today and explained the issue. He has sent me an email detailing the solution. I will have another call with him tomorrow to discuss further.

Chhota Boss – Oh Swami. I know him. Nice guy. He has sent an email to me as well. I wonder how he could provide a one lines solution to a problem you haven’t been able to solve in three weeks.

M1 – One line email? He has sent me a three page long mail. It has all the details.

Majhala Boss – Is that so? Why didn’t he copy me in that email? B1, don’t you know that I need to be part of each and every conversation you have with any of the external parties? How come this piped pipers of yours is talking to Chhota Boss and you separately and I don’t even know about it?

M1 – I don’t know. BTW, if I am going to solve the issue, why hasn’t he copied me in the email he wrote to Chhota Boss?

Majhala Boss – I hope you have told him that we are in the same team. Does he know?

M1 – It was the first time I talked to him. It took a while to locate him. I will let him know.

Chhota Boss – Oh mate. If you needed to talk to Swami, you should have told me. I have known him for months.

BIG BOSS – People, what is going on? Are we a team or not. M1, for three weeks you have been looking for a person who is well known to Chhota Boss. Ridiculous.

M1 – Big Boss, it took me three weeks of efforts and contacting everyone I know in India to locate Swami. Maybe only people I didn’t contact for this were my great grandparents because I couldn’t. They are dead.

Chhota Boss – Maybe you were looking at wrong places. You should’ve searched for him in our neighbouring building. BTW, he heads his division. He can surely direct you to someone appropriate.

M1 – Neighbouring building? Swami sits in India. I talked to him today. BTW, my Swami doesn’t head any division. He belongs to one of the lowest categories in his division. He will get the work done for us.

Chhota Boss – You talked to him today? I met him today. Let me reiterate, he is the boss.

Big Boss – What the hell is going on? How can came person be present in two different locations at the same time? How can someone be a boss and subordinate at the same time? Or we have two Swamis?

Chhota Boss – Possible.

BIG BOSS – M1, what’s your Swami’s name?

M1 – Let me check. It is Swamni Mudiyanselage Rangana Keerthi Bandara Swami.

Big Boss – Holy humanity. Let’s call him Swami. Chhota Boss, what is your Swami’s name?

Chhota Boss – As if I remember. Let me check if he has sent any emails to me. Oh yes, there it is. It is Denagamage Praboth Mahela Mutthu Ranga Sivakumar Swami.

Big Boss – God. I didn’t get anything but Swami.

Chhota Boss – No worries. Do what I do. Call him Swami.

M1 – What happens to my Swami in that case?

Big Boss – What was his name, please?

M1 - Swamni Mudiyanselage Rangana Keerthi Bandara Swami.

Big Boss – That sounds like the name of a village. I wish he had included pin code in his name. I don’t know what to call him but Swami.

Majhala Boss – Okay. I have a solution. Chhota Boss, we shall call your Swami as Australian Swami. M1, your Swami will be Indian Swami.

Big Boss – Majhala Boss, I assume you have some strategy to solve rest of the confusion as well – which Swami heads the division, if he does and which one is the guy who will get the work done as he claims to.

Majhala Boss – Oh yes, I checked on the intranet. Indian Swamin reports to Australian Swami. M1, now what I want you to do is contact Indian Swami first thing in the morning, get the issues sorted out, and send an update to me & Indian Swami’s boss – Australian Swami by tomorrow afternoon.

M1 – Sorry boss, it cannot happen before evening tomorrow?

Big Boss – Why if I may ask?

M1 – Because my first thing in the morning is five hours ahead of Indian Swami’s. I can only contact him by noon which will be his first thing in the morning. By the evening, I shall provide a status update to everyone including Australian Swami – Indian Swami’s boss.

Big Boss – Okay. Fine. Just get it done by our EOD tomorrow.

Yours truly – Boss, bad news.

Big Boss – What now?

Yours truly – The external vendor we are handling seems to have delayed their progress. Hence we cannot make any progress.

Majhala Boss – When did this happen?

Yours truly – I have just received an email about it.

Chhota Boss - Couldn’t they have sent it earlier? Bloody idiots. Had they sent in the morning, we could have done something about it.

Yours truly – I don’t think it is right to blame them. They seem to have informed us about it as first thing on their morning.

Majhala Boss – Morning? Where?

Yours truly – They are in US of A.

Big Boss – Who the hell has sent that email?

Yours truly – Swami.

All three of them in unison, “One more Swami”

Big Boss – Enough of Swamis. What’s his full name?

Yours truly - Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha SampathaKumara Vasudhaiv KutuMajhala Bossukam Swami.

The meeting ended with a deathly silence. The room was vacated.

All that was left in the room were lots of head hair.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Diaries Downunder Part 7!!!

I decided to visit a few friends and stay over their place during this weekend. One of the main reasons was – they stayed a bit far from the main city and I wanted to see how it looks like when you move out of the city?
How does it look?
It looks serene.
That’s the only word that comes to my mind.
I got a chance to see an asset which this country has in plenty – land. All one can see is huge, never ending meadows. Oh yes, every now and then the real estate growth intercepts your view but still – greenery and the beauty of it is mesmerizing.
Our first stop was at a friend’s place. First thing that came out of my mind as soon as I saw his house was, “Don’t you get lost in this house? Don’t you get scared?”
“We have got used to of it now” was the answer. Oh yes, people adapt.
Well, the house was beautiful and huge. If such a big house is moved to Mumbai, considering its size and Mumbaikars’ amazing ability to fit in the smallest of houses, I wouldn't be exaggerating if I say that half of Andheri might have fitted in that house.
I was treated with a drink I hadn't had for almost a month – tea, made by friend’s wife. With due respect to all my male friends who have made tea for me, I must say – there is something about women and tea. Only women can make it taste good. Maybe that’s why the tradition in India – when you go to see a girl as your prospective bride, she gets tea for you.
Time came to go to another friend’s place and we did. Seeing my jaw dropping while seeing the size of his house, he made a comment – “You know? I have to clean this house every week”
Oh yes. Ever pro has a con. “Oh, we get maids in India” was my tongue in cheek reply. Deep down, I felt happy that my house is one fourth of his house. If I am asked to do it clean such a big house every weekend, I would rather sell it and shift to a smaller one.
Another friend joined and we started talking about different aspects of life. A question was thrown at me, “How are you finding it here?”
I was ready, “Well you know, if you are having a fling with a girl, she looks all great. The moment you are told that you would be marrying her, things change dramatically” seeing listeners impressed with my analogy, I carried on “Right now I am enjoying the fling. But the moment I am told I shall have to stay here for the rest of my life, I know I would face numerous challenges here as well. Because to throw challenges at us is not the nature of place but it is the nature of life. Challenges may vary depending upon the place but then, so do you and your ability to face them”  
“What is that you find really challenging here?” I was asked.
“Rules. So many Rules. So very many of them. You cannot do this. You cannot do that. You cannot go here. You cannot go there. I agree that it is important to maintain discipline but then, I find it suffocating”
One of them said, “You know, in my five years of stay here, it was the first time I saw checking happening in trains”
“So, did they fine anyone?” I asked.
“Yes, the lady sitting next to me. The fine was 80 dollars”
“Stupid. In order to save 3.5 dollars, she ended up paying 80” I laughed.
“Nope. She wasn’t fined for not having the tickets”
“Is it? Then why? For breathing oxygen?”
“Because she had kept her feet on the seat”
“What?” I almost fell down.
“Fined for keeping her feet on a vacant seat”
“Holy humanity. Fined for keeping her feet on the seat? Vacant seat? God damn it. What do they want? The seat was vacant. That’s the best a vacant seat is supposed to do for me – allow me to stretch my legs and save them from the hardness of ground for a few moments. What harm can it do to anyone if I keep my feet on vacant seats?”
“It helps in keeping them clean”
“What clean? If they are so worried about people’s feet making them dirty, why not ask people to get their own seats? You get your own stool, you board the train with it, you sit on your stool, you can get another stool to keep your feet on it, and you get down from the train with your stools. It can in fact give rise to another industry – people making stools for travelling in trains”  my frustration was coming out.
“Calm down”
“What calm down? This is what I don’t like. The urge to force the discipline is so suffocating” my horrifying memories of driving experiences were at their haunting best.
“Okay, fine. Let’s go out for some time. Let me show you my garden” I was told.
We went out to his garden which was bigger than my own house. He had planted different kinds of plants, vegetables, flowers and what not. The garden was so rich that during dinner, half of the material was supplied from the plants in the garden.
The enthusiasm with which my friend was showing his garden was commendable. He knew everything about the plants, the flowers, the vegetables, when they grow, how they grow and all that. I could sense the love for his garden in his voice.
By the end of the garden tour, his tone turned a bit sad. He told me, “I had brought some seeds from India. I tried my best but they didn’t grow here. I don’t know why. Weather is perfect here for these plants”
I replied in a philosophical tone, “It’s not the weather but the soil. Every seed doesn’t gel with every soil”
Most often I say things which don’t have any meaning – no matter how hard I try to find out meaning in them. Sometimes I find deviations in this theory. This was one of those times.
For any plant, the flower that grows are them may give immense pleasure to others. What is important for the plant is – if its root gels well with the soil or not. I hope you know what I meant.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Diaries down under – Part 6!!!

I am not a racist. I do not support racial discrimination. Consider first two lines a standard disclaimer.

But I do like making observation about different races. Actually I don’t really know the definition of races hence I would put it this way – I like making observation about people of different kinds.

They all react similarly in certain conditions. It is human nature.

They all react differently in certain conditions. It is nature of the kind of human they are.

Oh I didn’t understand the meaning of my previous sentence but that’s okay. I hardly ever do – wrote it just to make a heavy start.

Having stayed in an alien environment for almost a month, I have had a few chances to observe people belonging to different countries, regions, religions and maybe if we club them all – different races.

It is fun.

Let’s begin with the hosts – Australians.

I have been surprised by the emphasis Australians put on looking good. They almost seem to be obsessed with it. They seem to be obsessed with keeping a mannequin line body – be it males or females.

In case of males, they rarely have the curve so prevalent among Indian males – around waist. Same can be said about females – they have it where it should be, I hope you know what I mean. And they believe in the theory of – if you have it, why not flaunt it. I hope you know what I mean. They all stand upright, stout and walk as if they have a purpose – which often is to go have a beer.

Most Australian bodies have three notable peculiarities – near perfect figure, tattoos (be it on face, head or somewhere else) and a nose ring.

Yes, a nose ring – irrespective of gender. Sometimes it is in left nostril, sometimes it is in the right one. Quite often you would see it in the middle.

Yes, in the middle.

I just don’t understand the reason behind it. It is as if they are decedents of bulls and not apes. It is as if this nose ring is one body part which was strong enough to negate the natural evolution – journey bull to human.

When an Australian passes by you, he would look into your eyes, often pass a smile, ask “How are you?” and carry on. I think the word is courteous.  

Australia has huge population belonging to South East Asians. No offence meant but I have never been able to distinguish between them – if someone is a Chinese or a Korean or Singaporean or someone else.

For my own simplicity, I keep calling them Chinese.

Well, it’s the biggest fish in the pond that gives it the name. I don’t know how different I look from a Pakistani or a Bangladeshi or a Sri Lankan but people always refer to me as an Indian. We are the biggest fish. We give it a name.

There is a peculiarity among all the young Chinese you would see. Every Chinese guy would be holding his girl’s hand in one hand, would be wearing a colourful jacket, would have his SLR hanging from his neck and his other hand would be in the pocket of his jeans. They all look like honeymoon couples. Quite likely couple’s elder would be walking just ahead of them which makes me wonder if there is a concept of “family honeymoon” in their culture. Every now and then, the group would stop, stand in front of something, tilt to their left, say cheese and make a V symbol from their right hand as if they have conquered that place – all of them. Looks like they are quite serious about conquering the world. The man with the camera would take the picture, show it to the entire group and take their picture again. The process would be repeated a few times and then they would move on to another place to conquer it.  

When Chinese walk past you, they would never ever look at you. Never. Males would be busy looking here and there. Females would look straight – dead straight. They would just pass by.

BTW, I have seen a Chinese pregnant woman. Contrary to popular belief, they do exist. Next I want to see is a curly haired Chinese. I wonder if he/she exists.

There is a big population from subcontinent – often termed as Indians by others and Desis by Indians.

Desis roam around with a puzzled look on their faces which says “How can I save a dollars”. Every Desi , just before he makes any kind of payment, halts for a moment, thinks, does mental calculation of multiplying latest exchange rate with the amount he is paying, makes the payment and walks out with the look saying “India mein yeh aadhe mein mil jaati” (I would have bought it at half the price in India).

Desis walk at half a pace at which an Australian does but cover 75% of the distance in the same time. It is because of the gigantic tummy which gives them an edge. Be it train, tram or a room, it is Desi tummy which enters first. Rest of the body just follows it.

While Desis fall in the category of being least fashionable, but their overall attire can qualify as most sensible. They are the most decently dressed lot here. Obviously I am not counting wannabe females here – the kind which puts on revealing cloths and spends rest of the time in covering the exposure.

When a Desi male walks past by you, he would look straight in to your eyes, would just keep looking and the moment you think he would say a “Hi”, he would look away and walk past by you. His facial expressions would say, “Yeh Indians har jagah mil jaate hain” (These Indians, they are everywhere)

When a Desi female walks past by you, she would turn her eyes at an angle of 15 degrees to look at you in case you are looking at her. Her facial expressions would say, “Kameena saala, kaise bhookhe bhediyon ki tarah ghoor raha hai. Desis. That’s why I like Peter. He is so decent(Scoundrel, he is staring at me like a hungry wolf).

Just in case you aren’t looking at that Desi female walking past by you, she would increase the angle of vision to 45 degrees. Her facial expressions would say, “Attitude to dekho inka, jaise pata nahi kahan ke hero hain. Even Peter doesn’t have such an attitude(Look at his attitude as if he is some kind of a hero).

Well, observing different traits of different cultures is real fun. How different can people be? How differently they can react.     

But then, doesn’t matter who they are, pedestrians are first to break the traffic rules knowing there isn’t any penalty for that. People find it difficult to wait for people to get out of a train so that they can get in. And knowing that a customer is stuck with them for some reason, they don’t really bother about them.

Human nature – so different yet so much similar.

Disclaimer: Pun intended. Any sentiments hurt are regretted.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The day it was!!!

He is batting on 38. The play would resume soon - in six hours or so. It may well be the last time he bats. Or is it? Well, chances of West Indies making India bat again look lesser than my chances of playing for India.
It could well be the last time. It will be.
15th November 1989 it was when I made an excuse of feeling feverish. It didn’t work.  I was sent to school. But it didn’t work. I pretended to have not seen the bus at the bus stop, missed it and came back home. I remember my mom scolding me for that. I don’t remember being perturbed by the scolding, though. I watched the match but don’t remember if it was because of Sachin. No, it wasn’t. All I wanted to do was watch cricket. I didn’t really know who he was. All that mattered was cricket.
It is 15th November 2013 today. 24 years have gone by like somebody fast forwarded a movie.
We didn’t have a phone back then at home. I have four cell phone connections and a landline connection in my name today – for myself and family.
If we needed to withdraw money, we used to go to the bank, fill up the withdrawal slip, get that gold token and wait for our respective turns at the cashier’s counter. I don’t remember when the last time I visited a branch of my bank was. The currency has become electronic now is what they say.
India didn’t have any real political party other than congress in those days. We have them in every nook and corner now. People are expecting an infant political party, formed by so called citizens troubled by the corruption in the country to make government in Delhi.
The “scenes” in movie Parinda had created a furore. I am not sure how many have seen BA Pass.
DD was all we had. So big is the number of channels on TV these days that we really don’t remember how many we have.
Rs 64 million worth Bofors scam was denting the image of a prime minister who came to politics reluctantly. If you are told someone did a scam of inflation adjusted Rs 64 crores in this age, you would prefer to listen to the joke on a would-be prime minister who looks so reluctant to shoulder any responsibility.
The world was different back then. We have so many things these days that we didn’t have then – some of them weren’t even imagined then. Like Sunny Leone.
On contrary, I had something in those days which I don’t have now. I don’t have a TV at home.
I bumped into an Australian colleague in office who asked, “How are you mate? How is it going?”
“Nervous. Sachin’s last test. It could well be the last time he bats today” I replied.
“Oh, I thought he has retired already. Hasn’t he?”
“I thought people knew cricket in Australia. Don’t they? Oh I forgot. You aren’t winning anymore these days” I said and walked off.
I tell a colleague of mine who is staying in a hotel, “Today I am not going to work after 3. I will take your room’s keys and off I will be”. Obviously, he wouldn’t be staying in a hotel which didn’t have TVs in its rooms.
“We have a meeting at 4” is his reply.
“Oh damn” is what I say.
Would he survive till then, till lunch, till tea?
Would I survive the tension? Yes. How?
“Don’t worry. He will be out first ball” he says and laughs. I feel like breaking all 32 teeth of his, all of them, one by one.
Clock ticks 3:00 PM. It is 9:30 AM in India. The match has started.
“Can you call up Sunil? You have his number” says my colleague.
I search for Sunil in my phonebook. There is nobody called Sunil in my phonebook. How can it happen? I remember storing his number yesterday. I search by the surname. I find it.
In place of Sunil Patel, I had stored it as Sachin Patel.
The match starts. Oh my dear Cricinfo, what would have I done without you. Alas, you don’t show it live. Reading commentary on Cricinfo feels like watching high quality porn. It gives you all the excitement but frustrates you to the core – your desire for real actions increases by multiple notches.
I send this comment to Cricinfo. They don’t publish in in their commentary. Damn you Cricinfo.
People start telling me on chat that they are at home watching cricket. Is anybody working in India today is what I wonder.
“Cut. Shot. God. Four” tells a friend. I respond by a sad smiley. He sends back a laughing smiley.
I frantically search for live streaming site. Starcricket tells me, “This video is not available in your geography”. My hatred for geographies grows leaps and bounds.
I post on Facebook for help. Help starts pouring in. But none of the sites work. A friend on facebook reminds me about Starcricket’s website. I inform him that the site doesn’t let live stream in Australia. People wonder on my timeline, “Oh all the days, you chose today to be there?”
I console myself, “It’s all fate. One cannot fight fate”. Screw fate.
A colleague says, “Let’s go on fourth floor. We get wi-fi there. I shall download the material I need to. We will have tea and come back”
Soon, we are on fourth floor. I am restless like hell. I tell him, “I can download it on my machine. It will be lot faster”
“Okay. Let’s have tea then”
“Why here? We can do it on our floor” and I pull him to tenth floor.
“Okay. Let’s have tea now” he says at tenth floor.
“No. Work comes first” I tell him assertively.
“Why are you in such a hurry today?” he wonders.
By then I am back at my desk opening Cricinfo.
“Oh now I get it why you have been acting strange since morning. It is all fixed, I am telling you”
What if I fix you, now and here I feel like saying.
“Straight drive. Orgasmic. Four” I am informed on chat.
“Huge appeal. Turned down. Anjali is in the crowd. Oh, even Pappu is there” another message comes pouring in.  What the hell he is doing there? Why? Looks like almost entire universe is there. I am the almost in this previous sentence.
 “He taps Best on the shoulder. Best smiles” is another message on chat.
“Pujara takes a single. Crowd greets it as if he has scored a triple ton. SRT back on strike. All I can hear is Sachiiiiiiiiin-Sachiiiiiiiiin” I am sulking after reading this message on chat. You don’t get to see moments like these in highlights. You don’t get to enjoy moments like these unless you are in the moment. Golden moments aren’t repeated.  
I have really lost it now.
“You can take the keys and go to my room” says my colleague.
“But the meeting?” I enquire.
“We shall send you the minutes. You can read them like big people do” I could sense sarcasm.
“No. I will attend”
“What will you do? Anyhow you aren’t here. You are at Wankhede”
“No” I say. It is hard to remember when the last time I was so assertive was. For some reason, I couldn’t leave work.
The clock ticks four. Meeting starts.
Damn. It is my laptop which was attached to the projector. Damn it. It meants no following the cricket on Cricinfo during the meeting.
Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.
Who the hell invented projectors? And why? Damn the projectors. Damn the meetings. Damn every goddamned thing. Damn it all.
The meeting begins.
I listen. I talk.
I hear nothing. I speak crap.
When will it end is what I am thinking all along.
Lucky break. Someone gets call. Phone call.
I love phone calls. Alt+tab and I am back to Cricinfo.
Oh God. Why God. It is time to say “Thank You God”
He is gone long back – caught Sammy bowled Deonarine at 74.
I am going through the commentary. I am reading how it happened. I am trying to imagine how it would have happened.
It doesn’t matter now. It has happened. It has all come to an end.
I missed the entry. I missed the innings. I missed the exit. But I enjoyed the journey – a 24 year long memorable journey. What a journey it was.
Tomorrow is Saturday. I hope to see his last speech, his last lap, his last reactions and everything else. I just hope to do that.
Oh I pray to God.
God is kind hearted. Next day, my prayers are answered and I get to hear the last speech. It isn’t the last time I shall hear that speech. It isn’t the last time others will hear that speech.
That speech is going to be one of the most watched videos on youtube, ever.
But it was the last time.
Thank you again.