Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Day I failed to Click

Date : Nov 2, 2006
Venue : Chandigarh airport lounge

My friend and I were returning from Mohali. Both of us had thoroughly enjoyed the
1st semi final of Champions’ Trophy '06 the previous evening, a match that the world champions first made into a no-contest a little after the breather and then uncharacteristically allowed their arch rivals to mount a rearguard that threatened to put paid to Australian CT dreams for a 5th time. Decisive though the win was in the end, the match – upon hindsight - still turned out to be the most watchable one in the knockout phase.

A few words on the cricket ground. We loved Mohali. Apologies for not serving up the cliched “It is a beautiful ground”. I mean – Mohali is beautiful, but so is any greenish ground at any corner of the world that is blessed to host a game of cricket at any level!! The part we liked most: Mohali does not have an optico-psychological barrier in the form of a wirenet fencing around the playing field that separates the 22 protagonists from the spectators.

You’d probably appreciate this part better if you have been to Eden Gardens in recent years (post
13th March 1996, to be precise). One should not really complain as the fencing serves to protect players from certain pests that should have no business inside a stadium. Notwithstanding, that net remains a big eyesore for spectators in my home ground. Here at Mohali we were feeling that much better about our ‘participation’ in the match - even though we reportedly failed to feature in any of the crowd shots on TV.

The two of us also missed out on something else. We forgot to pack in our cameras and rued the decision at the ground; so many times we could have clicked some of the cricket heroes that were posted to guard our part of the boundary.

Chandigarh airport is a low-traffic, small complex with a cosy little lounge. People tend to bump into each other in that lounge, particularly in the afternoon when two departure flights are scheduled to take off within half an hour of each other. As we completed our security check at Chandigarh airport and entered the lounge my friend pointed in the direction of a tallish crowd of Men-in-Black right beside us.

The New Zealand team was queueing up at the gate to board the earlier of the twin flights just as we were checking in for the next one. A fresh-from-heroics Danny Vettori chatted with skip Fleming as Lou Vincent lent an ear.

We exchanged blank looks - “No camera#!*?” Terrible. Then my friend pointed to the other side of the lounge. There sat the entire Australian team, clad in elegant white T-shirts and clay trousers. These guys – officially the best cricketers on this planet whichever way the game is played – were seated like a bunch of school kids waiting for their school bus to arrive. On another day the sight of it would entrance us; now we felt far more miserable instead. Why did both of us have to forget the cameras!!!

I have never been a great fan of autograph hunting. I get no kick out of having my name scribbled by a celebrity, nor do I harbour a dream to be photographed with them. Frankly speaking, I feel quite awkward to just walk up to a celeb and blurt out a ‘Hi’ and get back a typical celeb smile in return [and these are entirely my shortcomings - there is no reason why a fan should feel so while expressing his admiration for an idol or asking for an autograph].

I only wished to capture these guys on my camera. And that failing pinched me real hard as a lady clad in red sat herself alongside ‘cute’ Lee and got herself snapped by hubby. Soon the great men stood up, picked up their hand luggages and passed by us to board their flight - one by one, tall and handsome, silent and disciplined. [Wonder who
served spinach to Damien Martyn on that flight to Mumbai…]

Well it is now more than a fortnight since the rueful incident; I have almost come to terms with that great miss. This reconciliation job with self needed a ‘one at a time’ approach.

“I could not click Lee – fine.”
“I could not click Bond – fine.”
“I could not click Fleming – fine.”
“I could not click Ponting – fine.”
“I could not click McGrath – fine.”
““I could not click Gilchrist – fine.”

Wait – that was NOT fine!

I missed a golden opportunity to have Adam Craig Gilchrist on a piece of film exposed on my camera. How can that be fine? And how am I supposed to cope with that? I mean, he is as big an idol as I am ever going to have, the one man I seriously considered asking for an autograph at Chandigarh. From the looks of it he may never tour India again as a player. Even if he does, I may not be waiting with a camera at some airport lounge at handshaking distance from Gilly.

For a moment it seemed everyone from the world of top flight cricket was in that lounge - the celebrated Australian players, the lanky Kiwis, the ICC executives, the popular commentators, the cricket writers. And yet when Gilchrist's mates queued up in front of us I kept following just this man right from the time he left his seat. For all I know, it was scarcely different for my like-minded friend.
Physically the Australian keeper stands close to six feet in height. I stared at him and remembered his last great innings against Bangladesh last summer, his move as a captain to promote himself to number four when faced with a difficult situation at Chennai in the 2nd Test of 2004, and more and more. "How greatly taller he must be than that," I thought, "to still make me feel like a 10 year old cricket struck kid." Not for nothing was he born on Children's Day...
Cameraless, I was extremely upset that afternoon; so much that I did not even remember to shake hands and offer my very Best Wishes to Gilly.


1 comment:

Mobile Sportsbook said...

haha do not worry about it my dear blogger, that happens to everyone and actually that happened to me too so I totally understand ;)