The first day of the World T20 proper.
It’s first round alright, so I am neither expecting too many fans to turn up for the game, nor do I think there will be a lot of media personnel.
For the first game of the competition, which sees Zimbabwe take on Hong Kong, there seems to be one media person for every spectator in the ground.
And despite that I am ‘fortunate’ enough to be sandwiched between two of them, one a local, and the other an Afghan whose interests lie in the second game of that day.
The lunch’s a decent Indian set-up but in dessert, apart from gulab-jamun – a common Indian delicacy – there’s also tea and coffee. Well, it’s not really branded as dessert, but the amount of sugar that’s pumped into it, one can either call it that or a diabetes-injector.
I can barely go beyond the first sip.
I see no-one else complaining about it though. Probably it’s a Nagpur thing.
That aside, it’s a decent day at the office. The coverage is relaxed, and the lack of noise in the ground is a welcome relief from the sometimes over-zealous reactions.
Well, I am old school in some ways, I know.
The interesting bit is both games get close with the teams chasing, Hong Kong and Scotland requiring 39 to win from the final three overs. And then both teams lose by 14 runs too. A freakish coincidence to kick-start to the tournament.
What’s not quite freaky but is more of a shocker is Hamilton Masakadza’s run-out.
An Imran Khan-like captain might have even dropped him for the next game for what can typically be described as schoolboy-like running between the wickets. Coming from the side’s most experienced batsman, it looked even more horrible as Masakadza failed to ground his bat and jumped in the air instead to avoid the incoming ball.
Later chat up with Aussie radio channel SEN 1116, previewing the tournament and stick my neck out and make my predictions. Afghanistan to edge Zimbabwe out to qualify from that group while the other group to see a photo-finish with any team capable of beating the other on a given day.
The return-back to the hotel is eventful and teaches me another lesson. I have lost count of the number of lessons I have learnt, soon I am going to start forgetting them too. Which is, incidentally why it’s good to be writing this diary down too.
The press box is about a kilometer away from the main gate but with a heavy laptop bag and warm Nagpur weather, it seems five away.
And as I get to the gate with a guy I have just met in the box, I realise I have forgotten my camera back in the box.
Panic sets in.
It’s a new camera, a reasonably expensive one and most importantly, the half-walk-half-jog back and from the press box would add up to be 10 more kilometers by my previous estimate.
I run. And with my now-sweaty palms, both due to the fear of having lost my prized possession and thanks to that run, I finally retrieve it.
And then, I forget it yet again.
The ride back is on my friend’s scooter and I need to keep my camera under his seat. I get off at my hotel and for the second time in the evening, I forget to carry it back with him.
My mate is kind enough to take a u-turn back from a kilometer away to deliver the camera, which I hold on to quite tightly.
Back in my room, I put the camera next to me on my bed and literally, sleep with it.
It’s purely platonic though.