Sunday, 23 December 2012

Tryst with 'Wankhede'

Everything should be experienced once in a lifetime they say .And being An Indian, it is an atrocious crime if you dint like Cricket -1 and 2 – If you dint go see a match Live. I personally never was into this game, but curiosity always kills the mice & ME. So when my office colleagues (All Cricket fanatics) asked me if I would like to come, I complied. The ticket cost a good 1500 bucks (In my head at least 2 tops or 1 bag or 1 shoe equivalent or 3 visits to the Comedy Store).
Speaking about the match, it was the T-20 format against England. The T-20 made me wonder of its transitions across years from the good old Test Matches to the ODI’s and now this .Cricket seems to have adapted well to blend with the Gen Next. I must say if Cricket were to be personified, he would have been an amazing husband adapting to all needs.
The match started at 7 pm and trust me if you have never been for any of these matches, leave at least like by noon (doesn’t matter which area of Mumbai you reside) cause the organizers would have ensured to create some hell for you. We booked our tickets online and so we have to collect our tickets, obviously prior to standing in the queue. Mindlessly, you would expect that the entry to the venue and this ticket collection counter would be in the same area (by that I mean at least 100 – 200 meters distance).  But it isn’t as simple as the Cricket Game in itself. They manage to place it in Cross Maidan which is a good 2 kms away from Marine Line & Gate NO 5 that we were to enter from.  By the time I collected my ticket, I felt like I played a game of Mini- Scotland Yard.
Wankhede Stadium – The name is funny and so are its entrances. A friend said Chinaswamy stadium in Bangalarooo has 18 entrances, then what happened to this one, why just two? Another very pertinent question to the architect .Did you just not like Mumbai or the people here. The miles of line waiting to get in are worse than the lines at the passport offices. (Organizers please fix that soon), i.e.  if you think Cricket will continue to rule, with Sachin ‘No more ‘ in the picture as the ‘ Cricket GOD ‘ chose to retire.
Well, this is just the start. If you do get stuck outside and wish to communicate with anybody inside, forget about it. No chance that Vodafone or Airtel will help you. The Vodafone dog is not permitted inside. But if there is some hope, then it’s the Aircel users .Yes you heard me right. Always keep an Aircel sim handy incase you go there; it may just not let you down.
The sight as you enter is amazing .That view from the fourth level height does look good.  This one thing is worth it undoubtedly. But as time passes, all you need to see is some constant action like hits or wickets. Mind you it is very different from what you see on TV. The view on television is hundred times extrapolated. You catch on every emotion and everything about it seems euphoric. This game was more of the 1-2‘s and seemed less exciting than the test match unfortunately. To feel excited, we did all the screaming we could for Sidhu Paajis Yellow Turban, the Arrogant Dada (Saurav Ganguly) who chose not to wave at us and the flying paper rockets that landed well near the fielders. Also mandatory do’s are the (flag painted on your face , a India jersey with your name on it , annoying whistles and trumpets that blow into peoples ears ) . These factors get you into the groove and perhaps / maybe get you the camera footage.  Or carry a shirtless kid and wave it around. This too manages to give you some camera footage.
If you do read this, you may not see too much of the ‘real’ cricket. .Well honestly there is nothing worth mentioning. If Yuvraj Singh was the only bowler who could do some damage and the other bowlers included Piyush Chawla, Dinda and Ashwin, who were chilling around the boundary line leaving catches, you truly know my plight.
And mind you, hunger will happen and thirst will come on account of the cumbersome exercising you would have done to get in. But don’t you dare get tempted. The samossas will mess your stomach, the cold drinks is just ice water and all this for 50 bucks each. The dominos mini- mini pizza (i.e. size of my palm) is 150 bucks. What will save you this wrath are those waves that keep happening in the stadium. Its simple .All you got to do is get up with hands up and move like the wave .This will keep happening alternately across all segments in the stadium and you should scream.  That sight will fill you up.
Criticism apart, I must say the match got exciting in the last over and we lost at the very last ball which got hit for a six. I would go again, maybe for IPL .The energy levels is possibly more and the experience could be different. The feeling when you catch hold of the sight from the top is certainly ethereal. And all those looking out for a crash course in weight loss, this is more than ideal. Television is good, but stadium once in a blue moon with friends is fabulous.