May 12, 2012 by Mithil
We left Goa Monday evening after conducting the formalities of daily work and reached the city of Bangaluru the very next morning. The weather was cool, crisp, less humid and way much comfortable under the glaring sun. The match was scheduled at 4pm, so we had enough time to relocate, settle and reload. Thanks to Amey, cousin to my friend, we had no problem doing that.
It was 10th of April 2012 and the 7 of us were in the IT capital, 600+ Km from our hometowns, filled with frenzy, waiting to be flabbergasted, in our quest to witness the magic and soak in the craftiness of the geniuses of cricketing world. It was the time to lose the virginity and experience our first IPL tournament in the stadium. It was the match between Royal Challengers of Bangalore vs. Kolkata Knight Riders. Leaving 2-3 guys nobody had a cricket loyalty to any of the playing clubs. It was the whole extravaganza, the glitzy presentation we had fallen to. The golden opportunity to witness the masters of cricketing field battle it out with their fellow countrymen. Strangely it took us 5 years to execute such a plan. Last 4 years, the plans never left the drawing table.
We took the Namma Metro to get to the stadium; It was one of our major by-product to yet to be fulfilled desire. Coming from less urbane place it was intriguing to see the conjoined apartments shifting over the city in a smooth serpentine manner. Near the stadium the mood was reminiscent of a political rally. People with bright colors on their cheek, forehead were carrying flags of team they have pledged allegiance to. Others in jerseys bellowed for their team. Prices outside the stadium were analogous with the commotion around it, elevating every minute. Upon arrival it came to our notice the commencement was 2 hours away. Still we climbed the stairs, ran along the passageways like a dogs would after a bone. The excitement was thumping in our chest. It was 3 or four stairs till we reached our espacio en el estadio.
As the curtains parted I saw a spectacular view that left me breathless. It was the M. Chinnaswamy stadium, the place where legend of Anil Kumble was written and the foundation of Rahul Dravid ‘The Wall’ was laid. Players without detrimental egos or self righteous pride. It wasn’t the Wankhede but it was something else. Even though the field is archetypal, it left a unclouded cognizance of grandeur. Its stands were getting crowded and DJ was blasting club music on the others side. Disappointed by the allotted stand view we sneaked into a better stand with better viewing scope. By the time we took our seats the practise session had begun. People were filling the stadium and so were the players in the field. Every time a player approached our side of the field, we would yell and bellow at him. Seeing most of the players for the first time we would gape in awe and say things like ‘Is he the one?’. Our idiosyncratic behaviour got us the attention of a player and escalated after we started blowing kisses.
Due to some technical fault in the ad boards the match was delayed but that didn’t stop the mighty Christopher Henry “Chris” Gayle walking onto the field 20 min later. If there was a list of players who people wanted to see madly, he would top the list. People were more interested to witness his lethal savagery irrespective of the bowler. His effortless hitting and casual persona made him the MVP of IPL. Captain Daniel Vettori of RCB won the toss and elected to bowl first. After considerable amount of hitting KKR got to a respectable total. Gautam Gambhir performance stood out as he devoured on RCB bowlers. Gayle opened the next innings. He was expected to do a major wreckage. To our utter dismay he didn’t last long and our anticipation of seeing a ball flying into our stand had vanquished. Let just say he was the first domino in a line of 11 who had felled early. It goes without saying that the game was losing steam. We tried to find solace in a Mexican wave but that didn’t materialized effectively. We even bribed a guy into doing a wave by offering a seat. The people looked at us as if we were aliens and ‘Mexican wave’ was mandarin phrase to them. In the last dragging hour of the match KKR partisan Mr Shah Rukh Khan made an appearance supporting for his team. It was then I realized Mexican wave isn’t the drug, SRK is. As fast as he took his VIP seat he came onto the big screen, waving in a typical SRK way. Our stand was closest to the balcony he was residing. We even called out to him once just get quick wave. It got annoying later when people from other parts of stadium jumped into our stand just to get a glimpse of the superstar. Girls went berserk jumping on the chairs whereas the guys whistled endlessly as last few of the wickets came tumbling down. The cheers of the KKR were more audible then.
I would be lying through my teeth if I confess of relishing the game, I didn’t. Instead we savoured the moments of obscurity and devoured on insanity. We familiarized with the crowd as the moans and applauds travelled centrifugally, reviving the stultified players. Sitting in that mass of jubilant fans we sensed the enormity of following of the sport. It wasn’t a full house but it did made hell lot of noise. After that match we never whined about the result or the amount of money squandered. We might not remember the statistics or the scores but we sure will remember the player’s we hollered at and flying kisses we blew to.