There were huge crowds that day, hoping Sachin would bat. Tickets were sold out for the first 2 days and no ticket counters were there at the stadium to make it worse. I got my ticket, in the most unlikely fashion, when a spectator was walking back, because he could not take the heat in the uncovered area of the stadium.
Sachin did not bat on the opening day, and I came back the next day to see him bat. India opened with Sehwag and Vijay, and I was fervently praying for Sehwag and Sachin to bat together. Sehwag fell early in the day, and I felt, I was very close to seeing Sachin bat finally. The chants for Sachin to bat were getting louder by the hour, and in the most unlikely manner, Murali Vijay chose to stitch a huge partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara the whole day. The huge 30,000 crowd, had flocked to Uppal, betting their Sunday fun on Sachin, and were growing impatient by the minute after lunch. To add insult to existing injury (of not seeing Sachin in to bat), the Aussies dropped a few catches, thereby letting Vijay and Pujara grow in confidence.
I returned home disappointed, not having got the opportunity to watch Sachin bat, and the next morning at work, between a short meeting, the second wicket had fallen, and Sachin had also got out cheaply. I could not plan any personal weekend travel to Mohali or to New Delhi due to some pre planned work.
The next stop in watching Sachin was during the IPL in April. I happened to be in Chennai on a Sunday, during the MI vs CSK game, and I left early from my home, to keep my luggage at Chennai’s Central railway station, and then proceeded to the Chepauk cricket stadium. A couple of squint eyed stares near the Pavillion, got the touts to recognize that I wanted a ticket. I paid 1500 for a 750 rupee ticket, and went inside the stadium just before, Sachin went into bat. Just as Bollinger was steaming in, I was focused on Sachin and was hoping he’d flick one to square leg, but his leg came in the way, and he was out LBW. The Chepauk crowd turned silent, and I proceeded to the Chennai Central Railway station to catch the Bangalore mail, a tad early though, enjoying memories of Tendulkar from youtube on my phone.
PS: I had planned travel to Kolkata, and just as I was getting ready to leave to the Bangalore airport, Shami Ahmad rocked West Indies, in one single over, and the hopes of watching Sachin bat, melted away, as I made my way back home, towing the luggage. A day back, Kyazoonga bombed, and the hope of getting a ticket to the Wankhede also vanished, but as they say its never over till the fat lady sings! Maybe its destiny that Sachin is best enjoyed in his 200th test, on HD or through the text commentary on Cricinfo!
PS2: A thought tells me “Kartik, take a break, breathe the same air as Sachin and feel happy you’ve been part of this. Sachin is like sex. When you feel too much of it, take a break and come back energised for 1 final orgasm at the Wankhede”.