26th January has not been a dry day for 2 years now, just for me…Lol… Was in Goa in 2012 and this time around among hundreds in McLoed Ganj. After a tiring evening, travelled 12 kms downhill to Dharamsala to witness the 1317 meters above sea level HPCA stadium host its 1st International match. People were queued since 6 in the morning and the car parking was made avaliable 2-3 kilometers from the ground, just a few steps if you have a VIP or a VVIP ticket, I was lucky..;).
Don’t know why but I always feel super happy when I enter the stadium and am greeted with green circle and colorful stands, wow… this had snow capped mountains too.Mobile phones were out way before the Indian flags just to capture the scenic Himalayas in the backdrop.There was noise, Himachali caps, tri-color, slogans and smiles all around, a warm welcome by Dev Bhumi Himachal to the cricketing fartenity. Dhoni and Cook were out and loudly cheered as the two walked for the toss.In minutes, everyone knew India will bat, the noise manifolded and the stands were packed. 25,000 people yelling made the atmosphere warm.
India were off to a poor start and the Himachali’s and tourists from parts of Punjab and Delhi were now cricket analyists,”Yuvraj should have played straight”,”Yaar…Kohli na bus fukra ho gaya”,” Aisa lag raha Rohit Sharma ka mood nahi hai khelne ka, f**** yaar”, Dhoni ko hatao captaincy se. There were some phrases I cannot scribbe, not that I did not scream any, infact I scripted many..;). Soon Raina was everyone’s favorite, dancing and Balle Balle India begin once we crossed 150 and now everyone had their estimation about what will India achieve in 50 overs. India managed 226 with B.Kumar bat boost and trust me no-one in the stadium actually knows the score, just because “match toh sirf bahana hai,humko shor machanna hai”.
Apart from Anurag Thakur, the man behind the White mountain stadium the off season in the hills was made profitable as penny kind things were sold 5 times the price. India was cheered on the field as Bell and Cook marched with 227 to chase. B.Kumar and S.Ahmed started well, Ishant and Ashwin followed up well too. We in the stands continued with our viewpoints and posing comments(in decent faith). Cook and Pietersen were wrapped up and the crowd went bizarre with a hope to make it 4-1. Roots and Morgan partnered with Bell and the Englishmen were home safe and sound. Boo’s and abuse for Indian team started with comments passed but cricket won many hearts in serene surroundings. At 5 in the evening the chill started to tease as the temperatures dropped to 8 degrees and the long walk back to the parking lots discussing about cricket was all around. India wrapped by the series 3-2 but I promised myself to come back for the 2 IPL encounters on 16th and 18th May when Punjab will host matches for Mumbai and Bangalore.
After 6 hours of travel back to Chandigarh, I carry a sore throat and a tired body, applaud me for penning down my Dharam-sala experience..;)