Bombay’s cricket crazy Indians

The writer gets into the Wankhede—and lives to tell his tale.

From the stands

I can’t sleep. I can’t watch TV either. There is too much unnecessary reality in both. I’d rather be at the Wankhede right now, I need my fix of bottle banging, name calling, don’t you want to see Him too? Shouldn’t we all just go to work everyday there, start our day at 5:45 am, with the sole aim to source tickets for the day's play? And what if, like Namya or Crownish or Bonny or Mr Z you can help someone get in, without asking for a rupee in return, what could be better?

How could Crownish volunteer to take a train from the outskirts, 90 minutes away, to meet me at VT, to hand me a ticket. How could Namya, work my tickets from meetings in London, so I could pick them from three and a half minutes from where I was staying?  And Bonny, calling every man and kid he knows to get me a tick, “from her balcony you can watch the match, they even sell tickets for that now”. And Mr Z, in between nebulizers and oxygen masks, catches his breath, asks for the phone and says, “Let’s get Gaurav a ticket”. Mr Z holds my hand from Delhi so I can walk into the Wankhede.

I was there. Like hell I was. Not on an assignment but a mission. I have watched Him bat before, I wanted to see us all play again, and like hell we did, oh man, how we played. We were good. He said so. He will never forget us. We made it all worthwhile that day, and the day after that, and yeah, the day after that. We were that good.

But what now? What will we do? How will we return to a life where tickets to Wankhede are easy again?

First day: I’m in a cab, our rendezvous keeps changing. From JJ Hospital to the second bus stop to a sweet shop round the corner. There he is. Just like that. With two tickets. I place them in the recesses of my cargos. I feel empowered, almost tempted to ask the cops about the security arrangements.

I’m in.

The North Stand. I spend a few hours changing seats till I navigate Subash from J, third level, Staircase 9 to Gate 12, second row from the back. Between a US number, WhatsApp and dodgy connections, it look like this is going to take 24 years. In spite of that, we meet before the Windies die on us.

Second day: I will be watching with my friend’s dad. We jump the queue, my greys get us in fast. Later Mahek, Subash, Jigar, Aditya are there too. And so is He.

Third day: Keith gets in. We all were, we all were.

And just like that he was out of here.

Guess I know why I started the blog five years’ back: for these three days.

Thank you, guys.

Gaurav Sethi is Founder and Bored Member of Bored Cricket Crazy Indians (BCC!) where he cartoons, sings, talks, writes and generally plays with cricket. He tweets @BoredCricket and@NakedCricket

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