Last Friday I was on my way to Vadodara from Bangalore to drop my mom back home (she’s been living with us for the last month here in Bangalore). After landing in Mumbai from Bangalore, we proceeded to the departure area to check in for the connecting flight to Vadodara.
As I was waiting in the queue for the security check, I was looking around to pass time. When I casually looked behind me, I was suddenly taken aback to see a person in a blue “Team India” T-shirt looking very much like Gary Kirsten, the Indian cricket coach! Kept looking — it was him for sure! What a surprise!
Then I saw many more guys coming in a bunch towards me wearing the same blue Indian team shirt. My god, it was the Indian cricket team! That was when I remembered that the first match of the Hero Honda Cup series between India and Australia was in Vadodara on the coming Sunday, so it was clear they too were going to Vadodara.
I didn’t know how to react. Normally, I don’t believe in getting over excited when meeting celebrities. I feel it shows us in poor light. After all, they too are just normal human beings like us and prefer to be treated as such. Excessive attention can be fun at first, but can later become exasperating.
But this was something different. It wasn’t just one celebrity or two. It was the whole Indian team, right there in front of my eyes! I mean, how many times have we seen these guys on TV? And to see all of them in front of my eyes, together, within touching distance!
Anyway, I got over my initial daze and realised I had to make the most of the situation (read, click as many pictures as possible before the completed the security check and proceeded towards the aircraft!). So out came my Sony Ericsson k790i camera and I started clicking away to glory. Managed to get a few good pictures of Dhoni, Sehwag, Ishant and Gambhir, but could not get a decent snap of Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh, as there were too many people hovering around them, and they themselves too weren’t still. Anyway, not a bad end result. I even managed to get two pictures of Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh undergoing the security check by the CRPF personnel. That’s something most people wouldn’t have seen in the papers!
Some people approached Dhoni to get his autograph. He graciously signed them and then said “Ok guys, chalo, I have to go”, in his own rustic English accent. Then I moved towards Sachin to take his photo. People surrounding him were perhaps too awestruck to ask for autographs, so they just wished him all the best. He said in his trademark soft voice, “Ya, thanks!”. But Yuvraj was clearly the don of the team. He was standing there in fancy sunglasses like a real crown prince, least concerned about the people around him! He clearly got the maximum attention from the ladies, with many of them queueing up to take pictures with him.
Finally, the guys moved on and boarded the bus towards the airplane. I was hoping that they would be on the same flight as mine. Wow, what an experience that would be! I was somewhat confident that this would be the case, since there is no other flight of Jet Airways to Vadodara at that particular time, and they surely wouldn’t be flying by any low-cost carrier.
After some time, we too boarded the plane and I was pleasantly surprised to see the team there, occupying 6-7 rows behind ours. The most amazing part was seeing Dhoni, Gambhir and Sehwag sitting in the row right behind us (they were in seats 4D-4F, we were in 3E and 3F). I was sitting in the middle seat and mom on the window seat. Dhoni was in the window seat behind her. When I looked out of the window, I could see him through the gap between the seats!
I thought I would take their picture and shake hands once the flight took off. But sadly, the three fell asleep by the time the flight took off. Nevertheless, it was cute to see Dhoni sleeping with his mouth slightly open. Gambhir too fell asleep with his iPod on.
During the flight, Virat Kohli got up and came to the toilet. While he was standing there waiting for the occupant to come out, he was taking sly glances back at the passenger section, presumably trying to see how many people were looking at him. And once he saw someone looking at him, he would then look down nonchalantly, trying to look important! It was quite funny to see that, but it’s understandable as he’s still a young cricketer.
Finally, we landed in Vadodara, and the passengers started disembarking. Me and my mom got up and the cricketers followed in a line behind us. My mom, being in her late 60s, struggled a bit while climbing down from the aircraft. Dhoni, who was right behind her, patiently waited for her to climb down, which was very nice of him. He really is a genuinely modest and humble person. My mom, of course, had no idea who she was holding up behind her!
Anyway, that’s that. I came home, transferred the photos and now finally got the time to write this blog!
Here’s a slideshow of the photos I took: