17-Jun-2011

IPL watching by a cricket non-fan

If I remember it right, I was the one who suggested watching IPL live. This is pretty ironic considering I know amazingly little about the game. However, I had heard from all and sundry that IPL belongs to the (to paraphrase Tata Steel’s ads from yore) ‘We also play cricket’ school of thought. Besides I had emerged fresh and unscathed from watching an exciting India World Cup final. D and the Ma-in-law, both cricket fans, the latter more so than the former, were only happy to agree to the plan.

When we landed outside Wankhede stadium, we were all waving our hands breezily. The ticket said ‘no bags, no camera, no food, no drinks, just come in your clothes and all the money in your bank’.

After reading between the lines, I concluded that binoculars were not prohibited. I was not questioned by anyone except for the lady at our twenty seventh security check before entry. I pointed to the rules and then pointed out that her predecessors did not find anything amis. I was trying to look like the serious cricket fan who did not want to miss the intricacies of each ball. Though secretly, I was hoping to watch in close-up, Nita Ambani jumping again into Harbhajan Singh’s arms or such other exciting events.

Our first stop was for food. After dropping some of the inheritance we would pass onto potential heirs here, we moved on to spend the rest at the memorabilia stall. I got a flashing headband of Mumbai Indians, the home team. D got a loud noise-making device that ensured that I stayed out of ear range during the match. Ma-in-law desisted. Later on, we realized why.

Mumbai Indians were playing the Deccan Charges. We were really early – 6.30 p.m. for an 8 p.m.match. The binocs were put to immediate use ogling at Ishant Sharma.

By the time 8 p.m. came, the seats were filled, the dinkchak dance music was loud, the cheerleaders had begun their routine and the stadium was throbbing with excitement. I was waving the free Mumbai Indians flag like mad. If only to create some breeze in the stifling heat of the stadium. Despite being located so close to Marine Drive, there was not a single suspicion of a breeze and I was convinced that I would slowly bake in my seat.

The game began and the first over was bowled. At this point, I paused sufficiently long from all the food I was stuffing into my face, to express my surprise about the batsmen changing sides! Before I could launch into a theory of how IPL was corrupting cricket to introduce some downtime for ads and cheerleaders to dance, D and Ma-in-law both hit their hands to their heads. Oops, apparently that is a regular cricket rule. Clearly, my ignorance ran deeper than I thought.

Which also explained, why after the 5th over, once I had taken a close look at Nita Ambani, memorized all the dance routines of the cheer leaders and become too sick to eat more food, I started to feel bored.

Time paused in front of my eyes. Each ball looked like an eternity. I began to think of bad jokes like ‘why call it an over if it is never going to get over!’ (pause for proud, self-congratulatory chuckle). I started to make mental lists of what I wanted to with my life, where I would like to go on holiday, what other furniture we needed in the house and so on. In between, I took in Malinga coming over to our part of the world to field, and the audience going wild with their calls of ‘Malinga Malinga’. The man could have waved, but no. Just a wee shrug of the shoulders (a photo of which I took in my mobile approx ten times to get as much out of this episode as possible).

I had almost decided that I would go home when the interval came. I jumped out of my seat and ran to the food stalls. Immediately there was fresh air, a cool breeze and the welcoming sight of food. (It was incredible, the amount of food I was able to eat). Once fed, I figured the match was anyway half over and it couldn’t last much longer.

So back to the second half. Deccan Chargers playing surprising well. Or rather Mumbai Indians batting like a bunch of school kids just learning to bat. Wickets began to collapse left, right and centre. This lead to a rather morose crowd. What with the music having been switched off to comply with Mumbai rules, the match became rather lackluster. The only person in the whole auditorium who looked rather pleased with the state of affairs was Ma-in-law. Turns out she is a closet Deccan Chargers fan.

It was quite evident that the Mumbai Indians were going to lose and they could have very well done the decent thing and gotten all out in 15 overs. But oh no, they wouldn’t. We had to wait for the entire twenty overs to reach the ending that had looked inevitable from the 2nd wicket. By this time it was already well past 11. I suspect though, not everyone shared my view. I could see most people (including D) perked up a bit when there was a shower of runs in the last few overs.

The crowds began to pour out on Marine Drive the minute the match got over. The competition to find a cab began.

I had carefully saved up my expensive memorabilia and now, after more than a month, can safely conclude that it has gone into the clutter that is threatening to overrun our house and make us consider moving to a bigger place.

On the whole, it was a rather good experience. Earlier, when people used to discuss cricket, I used to merely nod along. Now, I have made it a point to drop ‘so when we were watching IPL the other day…’.

Not bad at all.

3 comments:

hAAthi said...

I can sense the irony even one month later. Lovely read :)

Sonal said...

ha ha like your joke. sounds like the ones we used to make up in school. more refined i must say :)

Anita said...

hAAthi - Some experiences are best kept to the past

Sonal - We were very very funny in school. We used to laugh at ourselves all the time!