So yesterday, I had a ball watching India clinically oust South Africa and clinch a place in yet another world event final. Not only did I enjoy the Indian victory, but more so the humorous circumstances that I found myself watching it in. And before I outline what transpired, it struck me that we all must have our own audience episodes; stories surrounding memorable matches we have witnessed, and they would make an interesting series of blog posts. So here's the first of hopefully many more such stories. Do post your own in the comments.
After spending the afternoon at a friend's place watching a one sided women's semifinal, I decided to step out and visit the spiritual center I frequently frequent before the men's semi started. I knew I wouldn't be able to watch the second innings, as I was slated to meet my mother and brother later in the evening. So I was keen to get back soon and get cozy in front of the tv before my loving (but cricket indifferent) kin gave me a call. It so happened that I stayed in the center a tad longer than I planned, and by the time I left, play had already been called, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar had picked up a wicket in his first over, and my mind was already on my spot on the floor of my friends house in front of her tv. But since I had to meet my folks in an hour or so, travelling to and fro would waste precious overs! It was then that I spotted a tv set (actually five of them) staring at me through the glass of an electronics shop in a mall on my right.
So I took my place on the footpath among the small crowd that had already gathered there and watched a couple of overs. But being the only woman in that crowd which was starting to get agitated (Hashim Amla was on song), I thought why not just go inside the electronics store and enjoy a better view,and some free air conditioning.
Window shopping is always a pleasurable endeavour, and pretending to window shop while watching Ashwin bowl is even better. The delivery he produced to castle Amla was really something else, and my spontaneous reaction to that ball is probably what alerted a shop attendant of my real motives!
Thereafter, said shop attendant stuck to me like she was auditioning for a Fevicol commercial! Her proximity could have given assisted shopping a bad name!
"What in particular were you looking for ma'am?"
"Umm, just some flute music..", I replied sheepishly, desperately clutching on to whatever was in the cd rack opposite me.
Purely to get her off my back, I even turned away from the telly for a whole over and pretended to be mentally debating which cd was musically superior, Hari Prasad Chaurasia or some Indo-western dude I've never heard of( not like I know a lot about Hari Prasad Chaurasia; I had to wiki him to make sure he's a flute player, or my musical genius of a brother would never let me hear the end of it.)
But Fevicol wasnt fooled. As I drifted from flute cds to old hindi films, she promptly walked to the counter, furtively picked up the remote, and blanked the tv screens! A collective groan wafted through the glass windows, as the not-so-small-any-more crowd standing on the footpath were deprived of their sustenance. Before they realised I was the cause of their misery, I hurriedly bought myself a pair of headphones, the tv came back on, and sanity prevailed again. (That is until Amit Mishra started bowling; heaven knows what he ate for lunch! )
Then I decided to push my luck. As I was discussing the six month warranty my new headphones came with, I asked the shop owner if I could now hang around and watch the match. Sure, he says, himself more interested in the game than the customers. So, after flashing Fevicol a wicked imaginary smile, I enjoyed the free air conditioning for the rest of the South African innings undisturbed. Eventually I started chatting cricket with the owner, who turned out to be a sweet fellow, and when he found out I had played internationally myself, he ordered me a cup of tea.:)
(Fevicol, if you're reading this, please note : that's how you treat a cricket fan. Don't worry, I wont stick to my grudge against you; all's well that ends well.)
PS : Although family commitments meant I couldn't watch India bat (criminal, I know), the evening did involve me sneaking away from maternal clutches for a while and landing up in a sports shop in front of their resident tv. That was until my mother showed up to fetch me. Vile of her, pulling a small child out of a candy store like that!
(Incidentally, no one in the sports shop was surprised when I told them I just dropped in to watch the match. I love this country.)