Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Flash Backwards

I was watching the highlights of the day one of the test match at Brabourne being played between India and Sri Lanka and felt instantly nostalgic. The last time I was in there was in the year 1989 watching Australia play Pakistan in the Nehru Cup. 1989!! Given that there is a twenty year gap between a strong memory I possess and today, I must be growing old. I remember going into the match with my father, with the heightened expectation of seeing my cricketing hero in flesh and blood: Allan Border.

Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Abdul Qadir formed a formidable bowling line-up for the Pakistanis and it was always going to be an engaging battle. These were the days when one-day scores weren't of the run-a-ball variety seen today. Pakistan went into bat first and scored over 200. Several times, Border ran back to the boundary to chase the ball and I jumped up and down in excitement. Wasim Akram hit a couple of huge sixes towards the end of the innings and I was pretty certain one of them was going to come in and hit me on my head. Thankfully, nothing of that sort happened and I spent the entire lunch excited in the anticipation of the run chase. Turns out the excitement was to end there. Imran Khan bowled exceptionally well and won the match for Pakistan. When the second Australian wicket fell, my heart lept in pride when the section of crowd I was in started chanting "Border, Border". To my rather limited worldview then, it was heartening to know that my favorite cricketer had other fans too. I joined in the chorus to the best that support my lungs could provide. Unfortunately, it was not to be the day I got to watch him rescue Australia. He pittered and pottered around for a while and ultimately got caught in the gully of Imran's bowling. When you don't watch a match from behind the bowler's arm, you lose out on so much of the details. In those days, there were no big screens on the ground and it was only after I got home and saw some highlights in the news on TV that I realised how much prodigious swing Imran had managed to extract from that pitch. It was not a match that had India in it, but I could hardly be called neutral.

There is something about that ritual: of waking up early in the morning to go to a cricket stadium, of a father taking a son along, partaking in the excitement and curiosity of the young one, creating memories that fire up after so many years. It is a rite of passage, a bonding ritual, a tender lesson. Here's to the hope that someday there will be at least one more trip to Brabourne, by a father and son with the last name Pandya. Perhaps twenty years after that, that son might reminisce the occasion as fondly.

7 comments:

Pallavi said...

:)..do you ever worry that your son might not be a cricket fanatic and you may have to take him to NBA game instead?

Parth said...

@Pallavi: I'll partake in whatever sport he likes, but there's no harm in hoping he would like cricket, is there? :)

Radha said...

Brabourne? Or was it Wankhade?

Parth said...

@Radha: Brabourne it was. It has been 36 years since they played a TEST match here, but there have been intermittent ODIs. In fact, I found the scoreboard for the one mentioned in this post

http://cricketnext.in.com/stats1/html/51963.html

Abhishek Dhasmana said...

Nice :)

Parth said...

@Abhishek: Thanks. I had no idea you were still following the blog :)

Vasu said...

Good one Parth. I didnt know that you are such a fanatic. And looks like the little Pandya would turn in the same fold (I see the effort there:)