Cricket: 1 March 2003

I was in my second year engineering, it was a holiday, the earliest hour of morning got my third sem result with it. I had flunked my third sem after crossing the tide of the first year engineering without a blemish. I was distraught. The result was I had flunked but I had pegged my hopes imagining the worst for myself, days later the mystery of the result unravelled when the elephant had gone through the needle but its tail stuck in the eye of the needle. It was the worst feeling of having left high and dry.

The summers were here and Maharashta’s winter capital always experienced temperatures that made sure there were no mosquitoes other crawlies alive apart from odd moth, jeans and bed sheet dried in minutes an hour without electricity felt close to eternity. Coke and sutta were the only intakes body accepted a touch willingly. When one entered the hostel room after 10 minutes walk in the lunch, the eyes took their time to adjust to the environs of indoor.

The day of the result made sure people wore clean clothes, jeans and kurta. The result day was also an incentive to made sure the lecturers were spared of lecturing mentally absent, cynical engineering students not many were happy except the chap in the canteen, who hoped university would announce at least one result every month. But since it was Mahashivratri and a holiday, hostel mates flowed across the campus like rivulets and headed towards Ram temple, I too joined, more in asking the dearest Lord, why me? I was blank and I knew the world had stopped spinning and only thing spinning around me was my brains.

The walk to the temple was long on a dusty road few shorts cuts and we landed on the footsteps of stairs up a hillock towards the temple. The sun blessed us with temperatures in vicinity of 40 deg Celsius and I was feeling the pinch more than ever. The worst bout of dehydration was just waiting to hit me with some crude intention. It did, the climb up the stone stair combined with the fact that I was not feeling anywhere near optimistic made me feel sick. A soft drink and few sweet toffees did make me feel a touch better but I was gasping for air and my stomach churning.

I thanked God for everything and started to look at the time, India vs. Pakistan was couple of hours away. It was the match to see in a boy’s hostel. I managed to reach back to my room, found myself having a quick lunch, around 230 in the afternoon hysteria started to get grips of a hostel lobby and we resembled a stand at Centurions rather than a hostel of an engineering college. Everyone gather near the television, which was kept in a wooden box like cupboard. The locked were opened without keys off course. The lock too knew a crucial match was on. A bit of tiffs and iffs for getting the best seat on the floor to see the match. The power cut off just pumped up the hysteria, the power was back on and there was this huge cheer.

Pakis batted first silken wrists kept Saeed Anwar chugging Pakis along and an imposing total in excess of 270 was posted. Anwar getting a magnificent century. The ordinary death overs made sure Pakis kept flexing there hitting muscles and Indian bowlers made too look not so good. The Doordarshan commentary was mute for most of the times as a cheeky comment, a slur or a swear kept everyone busy. A few people who were lazy after a big meal preferred a blurring crackling voice on radio and separate set of noises added to Dolby vocal systems that the hostel turned itself.
A break of 40 minutes and Indian response was to start.

The Indian response started, the Wasim Akram ran towards Tendulkar, unstoppable force was about to met an unmpvable rock. The first ball Tendulkar face was dispatched to cover boundary. It was to be a long leather chase for Pakis as Tendulkar took the leg stump guard with his stumps exposed to bowlers named Wasim, Waqar and Shoaib. At the end of over strike changed, Shoaib was on top of his mark, Sachin on top of his crease, all three stumps in the bowler’s eye. Shoaib ran in breathing fire, Tendulkar gaze unruffled a blink of an eye, a wide deliver and this ambitious upper cut saw the ball flying across third man across rows into the crowd. Tendulkar played like a man holding fort and knocking winds out of opposition’s sails. Sehwag flattered to deceive to get to Waqar. Ganguly deceived of Waqar yorker but this didn’t stop Tendulkar who was in another dimension Kaif played with Tendulkar to string a hundred runner partnership, by the time Kaif was other India were counting down runs, Tendulkar pace made sure required rate was never a bother. Shoaib bowled a host one at Tendulkar's body and Tendulkar was gone, he missed the Century but no one missed perhaps his best innings.

Dravid guided Yuvraj to another control partnership that made sure the target score was never too big or too far. I strongly believe Dravid's mentored Yuvrajs and Kaifs and other to chase down a score. We held the record for scoring down most number of chases. Tendulkar scored at more than run a ball and Yuvraj and Dravid bought it home.

At the end of the day, the disappointment of the day was Tendulkar not getting to a desired century and not my poor third sem results.

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