The Mumbai summer is upon us, unleashing its fury like a Pakistani who’s just discovered that his wife can read. It hit home last week or so, making this one of the few times that it’s socially acceptable to talk about the weather. Of course, when I say “talk”, I mean “describe the weather using cusswords that would make a Punjabi truck driver cringe.”
Summer is kind of like Shilpa Shetty – hot, irritating and totally pointless. In fact, things are so bad here that for once North Indians are actually considering staying in U.P, where there has been a boom in the field of Mayawati Statue Maintenance.
So last week, when confronted with such extreme weather, I did the opposite of what any pansy, AC-loving city boy should do – I went to Brabourne for the Mumbai-Rajasthan match.
In the afternoon.
You see, I love the IPL. It’s as if the game of cricket went ahead and decided to have a ridiculously loud bachelor party. I’m also a Mumbai Indians fan, despite the fact that from the start, they’ve been about as reliable as the Mira Road water supply. But most of all, I was excited about watching a match without being subjected to that cellphone ad featuring Akshay Kumar and his demented laugh (maybe he lost his mind after watching his own films?)
As I entered the hallowed gates with friends and fellow fans in tow, the Mumbai Indians theme song filling up our senses and every beat, every thump racing to our heads, I began to feel something I hadn’t felt in a while – the Niagara Falls of Sweat rushing down my body, boldly going where only lovers or doctors ought to go.
We had East Stand seats, which are highly recommended for those who want to die of sunstroke. The ambience was great though. We were surrounded by loud, manic fans who were unfamiliar with the concept of ‘personal space’ and danced wildly every time our batsmen did something extraordinary, such as make contact with the ball. I mean what better way to enjoy a well-timed shot than to feel your chair being humped by the guy behind?
Also, watching a match in the stadium gives you a golden opportunity to call your loser friends who’re at home, and find out who the hell is on strike, because from where you’re sitting, Saurabh Tiwary might as well be Nita Ambani in a helmet. There was other entertainment on display too, such as the foreign cheerleaders, who have been brought here to send out a very positive cricketing message, i.e., “A pelvic thrust knows no borders.”
Anyway, after the first innings, we couldn’t take the heat anymore. I realised what the early Israelites must have felt like, roaming around in the desert for 40 years, until they finally had enough and took a cab to the Bombay Gym to watch the match on TV. Or at least that’s what we did.
Die-hard cricket fans may boo us for leaving a match halfway, but we won, so I’m going to take that as a sign that God, aka Sachin Tendulkar, wants me to watch the IPL in sublime comfort. It would also help if Akshay Kumar stopped laughing like Rahul Mahajan.
(NOTE: This is my HT column, dated 21st March 2010.)