October 10, 2010

The CommonMan Games: Part 2


Venue: Major Dhyanchand Stadium Date: 07.10.2010 Time: 4 PM Event: Hockey 

We were a 'small' bunch of 7 8 friends who - after much some brainstorming the night before - decided to reach near the stadium over 100 mins. before to avoid last minute rush. We had to meet at Rajiv Chowk Pragati Maidan Metro Station at 'exactly' 3.30 2 2.30. I left home at much, much before 2.10 (promising to be home by 9.30), picked another friend en route and we were there 'exactly' 'before' 2.30. But as it usually happens, someone had to get late, and someone did get late. Started from there at around 4.15 3.30. And now it was race against time. Since we didn't know about the location of the gate we were supposed to enter the stadium, we DID NOT ask a few volunteers for direction. Amazingly no one told us a different direction (since everyone was so sure about the one direction they were heading!). As a result we didn't had to run from pillar to post (quite literally!) marching for < 2 kms, taking wrong right gates and going through a rather strict security checking. 

So, here we are. Its 5.15 4.15 (what the event.. had already started) and we could see the stadium from outside. And how fine 'jhand' it looked. I mean it looked pretty ordinary to be called a National Stadium. But wait, we aren't inside the stadium yet. So, again we started asking didn't ask the volunteers but they forcefully told us to go in some direction. Anyway, at last we reached our section of seats. We searched for a suitable row and gave our bums some rest. I looked at the watch and it was 'exactly' 5.30 4.30 (my watch was working properly). 

Anyway, the first match was between England and Canada, which was already under way and we weren't much interested in it. Since it was a smaller stadium, crowd/seat ratio was good and crowd kept pouring for the 'real' match. The match ended at around 5.30. It remained a 1-1 draw in the end but Canada celebrated it like a moral win. But now there was a 30 minute before the next match (holy shit). Anyway Australian team arrived soon after and started practicing. Watching them practice, it looked like they were here to win. Just after Indian team also arrived with the biggest of roar from the crowd. By this time empty seats became a rare sight. 

The game started and as I knew/feared the Aussies did 2 early goals and got the lead. But from there on Indians tried their heart out. Every time they went near the opposition goal posts we jumped on top of our seats (now I know, why all the seats were dusty!). The anticipation, excitement, disappointment, all were moments to savour (well, its difficult to get the same excitement alone watching TV even if its cricket). And when India did score a goal, the atmosphere inside the stadium was electrifying, you could sense the adrenaline gushing inside the veins (that moment was worth more than the price of ticket). Who said hockey can't be exciting? Oh, sorry, it was me! But I was wrong. 

After half time, Australian again attacked hard, but this time Indians could reply properly. As a result they faced goal after goal. It was amusing to see spectators starting to cheer Aussies after the 4th goal. Once they scored the 5th goal, a section of crowed applauded and immediately started heading back home. But, we decided to watch the match fully (we should be good losers also). At the dying moments India finally got a penalty corner. Though the time got over, referee allowed to complete the penalty corner. And India scored a goal!! Well, we lost 2-5 but then it wasn't surprising, Australians are no. 1 in Hockey. We still had a good time and that's what it mattered. 

So, this day was certainly more exciting then last one. We danced, jumped, clapped, sang our heart out. That's exactly what I wanted when I made the plans. And the last 2 days wouldn't have been as memorable sans friends. So thanks friends! Only shameful thing was that none of us could tell the names/recognize more than 2 Indian players (out of all, at least I was expected, since I do follow some of Hockey). 

After that it was routine, ate lunch dinner, checked mails/buzz, made a few didn't make any calls and crawled to the bed. 

PS: The security guy at the stadium told me something that I won't forget for the rest of my life. But lets keep it secret. 'Purush Prasadhan' at both the stadiums were top class. Thankfully it wasn't 'Sulabh', it was free. Now, I know where so much money was spent. 

The End