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City celebrates all (K)night
Sixes over sup & superstition

Homemaker Geeti Sekseria took one look at the young man who had just made his entry into her living room and exclaimed: “Oh! No, you are wearing a black shirt!”

The Sekserias of Sarat Chatterjee Avenue are known among family and friends for their hospitality, but this was serious. Dinner guest Sreyan Chowdhury had just violated the colour code of the evening in this “mini Eden” of an apartment packed with Kolkata Knight Riders’ fans.

“We have a lot of superstitions. Like if someone leaves the room and a player (of the team we are supporting) gets out, then we make sure that person doesn’t get to leave the room at all,” explained Geeti’s daughter Shivika, a student of La Martiniere for Girls awaiting her ISC result.

Shivika’s friend Varunavi Newar came to Sreyan’s rescue. “It’s okay, we can drape him in the KKR flag to give him some colour,” she quipped.

By then, the 20-year-old molecular biology student had already turned a shade of purple. He would find his voice later to shout “I am just a KKR fan”, albeit once again to glares from the women who had just pronounced their loyalty to Shah Rukh Khan!

The ticker at the bottom of the large LED television, which Geeti had switched on sharp at 7.30pm to coincide with the toss of the coin and Gautam Gambhir correctly calling “tails”, showed KKR at 20 for no loss. “Come on, Gauti!” someone screamed and Captain Courageous instantly obliged by carving Varun Aaron through point for four.

Just the previous over, Shivika had got up to answer the doorbell and Gambhir smote Umesh Yadav for the first six of the innings. Now everyone in the room wanted her to get up every few deliveries to open the door, doorbell or no doorbell!

“We have been doing this for every KKR match this season. It is like we have a stadium right at home,” said Shivika, dressed in her KKR jersey and black rolled-up jeans.

The choice of tipple ranged from soft drinks to green apple vodka and whisky. Platefuls of snacks were laid out on a table for anyone who had the time and inclination to grab a bite between balls.

The room fell silent for the first time when Gambhir was run out. As the overs went by without too much T20 violence, the conversation veered to SRK.

“Men don’t really love Shah Rukh Khan, but I am totally dedicated. I once waited for him outside the ITC Sonar — I think I was in Class VIII then — in my school uniform after an exam. I stood there for him till he saw me, and I gave him flowers. I couldn’t concentrate while studying for my next paper,” recounted Kavita Bhandari.

Over number 18 was about to begin. Morne Morkel’s first ball, Laxmi Ratan Shukla hits and misses, no run. Gasp.

“C’mon,” a collective scream echoed in the room. Bang. A six off a short one from Morkel. “This is a great score, 162 we will surely be able to defend,” someone said as the players walked off for the break between innings.

The start of the Delhi Daredevils’ innings coincided with a light dinner of pasta with bread, cold corn and a veg salad. “The food keeps changing with every match, but we try and keep it light,” Shivika said.

David Warner and Virender Sehwag’s wickets early in the game had the young people in the room jumping for joy, but will it be easy? “Thank god for the 21 runs off the last over. KKR have a score to play with,” said Sreyan.

Someone in the group walked towards the washroom between overs, only to rush back just in case it brought bad luck to KKR!

“43 off 19 balls is so not possible,” beamed Geeti. “But Ross Taylor is coming, I am really scared. He hits like crazy,” cautioned Sreyan.

Just as Sreyan got up to put away his dinner plate, Iqbal Abdulla had Mahela Jayawardene stumped. “Sreyan, stay out of the room now! That brought us luck,” Shivika and Kavita shouted in unison.

As the seventh wicket fell, Sreyan did a victory lap around the drawing room table. Shivika’s 80-year-old grandfather, Harbans Singh, joined the group for the last over, cheering and clapping with equal enthusiasm.

“Yaaay! We are in the final, finally,” screamed Geeti as Umesh Tadav tapped Sunil Narine’s last ball for a single.

“Look at SRK. He is on top of the world,” sighed Shivika.

So was Calcutta, encapsulated in that mini-Eden.

many mini edens

Drawing rooms, community halls, street corners, shop stops, party places and club lawns turned into tiny Edens as the Knights from Calcutta slayed the Daredevils from Delhi in faraway Pune. Metro went around town to capture the mood

Home Run Big Screen Bang

About 50 KKR supporters from the Bypass housing estate packed into Silver Screen, the theatre inside Spring Club, to catch every ball of the first IPL5 qualifier. A roar went up from the residents every time a Knight hit the ball and a Daredevil missed one. The home team kept the gathering in such good spirits that they even sang along to the jingles during ad breaks.

Relaxed with a capital R was the mood at CC&FC. After The Telegraph Cup corporate football, it was time to tune into cricket on the big screen on the lawn and flatscreens indoors. “With the crowd and the noise, it is almost like a stadium here, only more comfortable,” said member Jacob Mathew, who was accompanied by wife Dorothy. And like everywhere else, Gautam Gambhir was the Knight on almost every fan’s lips, even though it was his team-mates who made most of the winning moves on Tuesday.
Purple Haze Team Spirit

Cricket buffs forgot why they were at the mall every couple of steps and gravitated towards the railing to catch the action on the giant screen. Every inch of the railings was taken as were the tables at the edge of the food court. Shopping bags in hand, hundreds hooted and whistled as Yusuf Pathan finally came good and Sunil Narine once again spun a lethal web.

Party plus IPL equals a cool cocktail. Between swigs and sips, patrons filled the Camac Street nightclub with shouts of “Go KKR!” When Laxmi Ratan Shukla hit Morne Morkel for a six, it was as if the Knights had lifted the cup. “I wanted to catch up with friends as well as watch the match. So I am at Shisha,” said Avinash Kalyani, who had pulled out his “somewhat purple” tee for the occasion at wife Sunanda’s insistence. “I am here for Shah Rukh and Juhi,” said Sunanda.