| A crowd gathers in front of a store on GS Road to watch the match on Tuesday evening. Picture by Rajiv Konwar |
Dec. 25: A 20-something Anil Raja stood frozen, uncertain of what to do.
Remain where he was or risk missing a few overs to get home, which was not too far, and watch the India-Pakistan T20 in a more comfortable environment?
It was 7 in the evening, the appointed hour that cricket buffs like Anil and the motley crowd that had gathered before an electronics showroom on GS Road were waiting for a long, long time.
It did not take long for Anil, who arrived at the spot after spending the early Christmas evening with some of his friends, to finally decide to stay on.
Rahane was firing on all cylinders and he would not have liked to give it a miss.
“It’s cold out here but I want to see through to the end of the Indian innings,” he told his companion finally, shuffling on his feet to find a better vantage angle for the free show. “We’ll go home at the break.”
Across Guwahati, groups of people stood outside TV showrooms watching the live telecast.
“The match is a bonus this Christmas,” said an elderly gentleman as he stood with a cloth bag from which some spinach and radish peeped out. He was on his way back from the market close-by.
“Saoon, olop sai jaoon” (excuse me, let me watch for a while), he implored for a toehold.
With Rahane and Gambhir starting to send the ball over the ropes, more and more people started gathering outside the shops along the busy GS Road, GNB Road and MG Road.
“I have no plans to go home early since there is a Christmas party scheduled from 9.30pm. And what better way to begin the party than watching the match and that, too, with this crowd?” Nabanil Barua, an MBBS student, asked.
On the other hand, it was a day to enjoy the cold, cake and cricket for Nilotpal Sarma, a bank employee.
“After a long time, I am enjoying such an exciting and entertaining holiday. I enjoyed the chill and the Christmas cake throughout the day. Now it is time to enjoy the cricket and that, too, an India-Pakistan match. Since my home is quite far in Adabari, I have decided to watch the first half of the match here,” Sarma, who was watching the game at Christianbasti, said.
The match was also a bonanza for the small food vendors along GS Road. Many cricket fans enjoyed samosas, chicken rolls and noodles while watching the game.
Nabanil, however, changed his plans at the fall of Dhoni’s wicket when the scoreboard read 108 for 4 and 16.1 overs bowled. “No point...I think I will not be able to bear the agony. Let me now find better things to do,” he said.
His words would prove to be prophetic at least in the context of the Indian innings, which finished at 133.