observations from a cricket match.

this past sunday harish and i went to the sri lanka v west indies world t20 cricket match here in bangalore. it was fun to see a match that i didn’t have too much of an emotional stake in – although i was definitely cheering more loudly for west indies – and it was also chock-full of great people-watching opportunities. there aren’t many better places to watch indians than at a cricket match when their emotions are running high, and sunday proved no different.

i had so many thoughts running through my head during and after the match that i knew i needed to get them all down in writing before i forgot them.

2016-03-20 20.20.08
sri lanka v west indies well underway. bangalore, india. march 2016.

here’s what i saw —

earphones are dangerous. security at cricket matches in india is notoriously over-the-top, to say the least. for this match, they had apparently decided that earphones are not allowed, and when they discovered that harish had his in his pocket, they made him leave them in a box along with other confiscated items. we ended up exiting through a different gate because it was faster, so someone has ended up with a free pair of earphones. i just hope they don’t try to carry them into a cricket match.

indians don’t understand the concept of booing. randomly people in the crowd would start booing, even if nothing had happened on the field. i think they were getting confused between “booooo” and “oooooh”, but every time i try to pin rational thinking on indians it backfires on me, so who knows.

i finally figured out the west indies “anthem”. we actually missed the start of the match, electing to wait it out in guzzlers to avoid the rush to get into the stadium, so when i saw the anthems on tv, it suddenly struck me: what song do they play for the west indies? the west indies team is the only one comprised of a number of different countries, and i had just never thought about this before, so i looked it up when i got home. the answer: they play david rudder’s rally round the west indies. so at least that mystery has been solved.

chinnaswamy needs some major renovations. that stadium was old when i attended my first match there in 2007, and it gets more and more outdated each year. the gates are only big enough to allow one person in at a time, creating a huge bottleneck outside the stadium, and then once you get in you’re held up at the security line because the guards are slow and lazy. there is a ton of wasted space in the concourse. they need a larger screen so people can see replays, etc. the pa system needs major overhauling. and don’t even get me started on the state of the women’s restrooms.

if there was a fire, we would all die. just as it is single-file to get into the stadium, so it is to get out as well. harish and i stayed in our seats for 20 minutes after the match ended, then hung around near the food tables for another 10, and there was still a gigantic bottleneck to get out the way we had come. we ended up walking around and exiting through a different gate, but both of us commented on the lack of an escape plan if there is any need for an evacuation.

bangaloreans reallyyy love them some chris gayle. normally chris gayle opens the batting for west indies – just as he does for rcb – but because he left the field while they were fielding he had to wait that many overs before being allowed to bat. when the crowd noticed that he was not coming out to open the innings, they revolted – the only time they correctly booed, by the way – and began their chants of “we want gayle! we want gayle!” i felt kind of bad for the guys batting, because the people were essentially cheering for them to get out so that gayle could bat, but there’s no concealing the affection bangaloreans have for gayle and his big hitting. i mostly felt sorry for andre fletcher, because he played a great innings and no one was paying any attention.

late-night transportation options in bangalore are slim. after the harrowing experience of getting out of the stadium, we were then faced with the issue of figuring out a way home. i live only 2km from the stadium, but walking on my own at 11pm is not a great idea, and anyway harish needed to book a cab as well. uber had no cabs available, so i resorted to ola, where i had 3 cab drivers cancel rides within a 15-minute period. in between i had autos ask for anywhere from rs 150-250 to take me home [even with double meter, it would have been rs 80-90]. we finally walked up to st mark’s road, where i found a very nice auto driver who asked for rs 100. i gladly agreed and got in. on harish’s end, his first cab driver started the trip without even picking him up, and it took him another 10 minutes after i got in my auto to find a cab. it was exhausting.

there’s rarely ever a dull moment in this country. enough said.


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