Time changes, even before we know it has changed. Do you remember the time when there was only one household in locality which used to turn into a community center whenever Sachin used to bat? Fortunately or unfortunately, I have not seen such time because by the time I entered teenage, cable TV was spread to each household. However, I still remember that one incident when I had an experience of such a “community center”.
It was the second final of CB Series in March 2008 at Brisbane. The mighty Australians versus India, who had already won the first final. From Delhi, I was for vacation at my sister’s place in Hyderabad. She was quite excited as her 16 year old brother had for the first time came to visit her after marriage. She wanted me to roam around each and every corner of the city in my 3 days visit.
I know with how much impediment I delayed the program to watch Sachin’s inning of 91 in that match. But once he got out, I had no option but to go out on Hyderabad’s tour. Me and my sister were supposed to visit “I-max” for movie, but by mind was still occupied with the thoughts of India winning the series by defeating Australians, specially after that monkey-gate incident in Test series.
At that time, there was not anything like Live telecast on starsports.com which I could have enjoyed on my smartphone during movie. So, I was in a dilemma or what we call in hindi, dharamsankat. I could not hurt my sister by showing dis-interest in movie, and at other hand I was missing all the actions. Movie interval.
I could not see anyone having even radio inside. Thus, to find the score, I went out on road, and there I found water in midst of Sahara-a small car repair shop having a 7 inches old TV screen (old by the standards of 2008 also!). 30 required from last 3 overs! No 72-foot high, 95-foot wide i-max screen could compete that 7 inches TV at that moment.
22 from 12 deliveries. 8th wicket falls! I cried in joy, but my voice was deafened as I realized that there were atleast 20 more passer-by standing and watching cricket. SIX! I could not understand Telugu, but in India, cricket is beyond any culture, religion, region or language. Surely the words uttered by those people were not pleasant.
13 from 6 balls. It was Irfan Pathan. Prays, hopes, expert comments, all were flowing in. Despite no knowledge of language, I was understanding everything that was being said there. The crowd had grown to somewhere around 30 in anticipation of watching India win. Wicket number 9! Wicket number 10! India won the match and the series!! Australia defeated at their home turf! Id, Diwali, Holi, it was celebration time. But…
My sister was waiting inside the hall. This cricket fever can even make you forget blood relations! How I managed her wrath and then convinced her, that story if not told, would be better! :D
That day, I realized, one TV set where the whole colony would come together for match, was actually the real fun. Sports unite people, and that day I witnessed it first hand. No one knew each other, but for few moments on that repair shop, our hearts beat together!
Today, I am not a 16 year boy, I am working in a company, having responsibilities and no matter if its a Sunday and a T20 World Cup Final, I still have to work (Yes! I missed the Ind vs SL final). But with starsports.com providing live stream of IPL 2014 on my smartphone, I do not need that car repair shop and neither do I have to make my sister or anyone angry. Yes, I can not enjoy the company of such 30 strangers, but I still have plenty to look upon like Keep Calm Moments, replays, polls, live scorecards, stories and no matter what else. But being a hardcore cricket worshiper, my favorite feature still remains the “Opinion” column with likes of Harsha Bhogle and Ayaz Menon making sure that the game does not end with the last ball bowled!