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Behind the Sightscreen (Part 1)

If I was a gossip columnist, I would be able to water this down/ spice this up for public consumption. If I were famous, I’d write this like an autobiography. Since I am just one of many who are working to organize the Indian Premier League 2012, I really don’t know what to call this one. It’s definitely not the bird’s eye view of things at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium. Maybe it’s the worm’s eye view – the one that didn’t get eaten by the bird anyway. And it’s a not- so-brief narration of the ground realities. Pun intended.

When I first saw the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, hereby referred to as ‘the Stadium’, it was just a work in progress. No, I’m totally lying, it was breathtaking. The imposing structure could be seen from miles away. What was less impressive however, was the teeth-rattling, nerve-shredding village road that led up to it.

Gahunje village, the postal address of the Stadium, could be approached through aforementioned road, which wound through Mamurdi village. One literally drove through the back and front yards of the unfortunate villagers, feet tapping the brakes constantly, afraid that one of their many progeny would decide to take to the road. Upon arrival at the stadium, one had to prepare for the journey from car to office, ducking under protruding beams from the unfinished entrance arch, dodging flying sparks from the welding, all the while keeping an eye out for the maniacal excavator driver. A similar trek had to be undertaken to answer nature’s call – in a blue temporary loo. Females also had to synchronise their bladders, since the door couldn’t be reopened from the inside, the journey had to be in pairs. ‘Bodke Boys’ was the local tapri, where we (and every other staff member, site worker, stray dog, and fly) went for Chai and Wada Pav. On some days we ventured to try other exotic dishes on his menu – which ranged from Misal Pav to Bobbies. His total (very movable) assets consisted of 2 plastic tables with a collective 7 legs, 6 and a half chairs, one khatiya, and one water- drum.

The first month passed in endless rounds and recces of the Stadium by various parties, reading documents and just trying to prepare for the storm that was to be IPL 2012.

When we started assigning responsibilities – I was put in charge of accreditation, by virtue of knowing what the word meant. For those of who you don’t, please google it! In short, it’s supposed to be an identity for anyone working at the event. The card gets you entry into the venue, decides where you can and cannot go, and yeah – shows who you are. Like if you are a camera person – you can go to your camera gantry, but you cannot go into the corporate box.
Here are some fallacies about accreditation –
1. An accreditation card magically appears immediately after submitting your photograph
  In actuality, the process is quite long. Identity proofs, personal details, approvals are required. Printing and validating the card takes time.
2. More Access = I’m cooler
  Ok, maybe this is true. If you have it, flaunt it!
3. An accreditation is a free ticket to watch the match
  If you bring your own seat, you are good to go!

The week leading up to the first match is the most stressed I have been in my life. When I wasn’t stalking people for their details (ref 1.), I was dodging others who kept demanding that I hand over their cards, which they were convinced that I, for some reason, was withholding from them. Not a few blunders were made, and secret cover-up operations were undertaken. New skills of deception were acquired. In this way, we hobbled closer and closer to Match 1.

We were prepared.

2 months at the stadium already, and we knew our venue well. I took refuge under my sunglasses, slathered on sun-block on every inch of exposed skin, put on my sneakers, and dislodged the butterflies coming to settle in my tummy. My boss took solace in checking & rechecking every minute detail. The Stadium had been handed over by the construction guys just the previous night, so we were not privy to testing any facilities beforehand. It was touch n go all around. Horror stories circulated amongst us – of stadiums that were plunged into darkness mid-match; of turnstiles shutting down and spectators getting crushed; of locks breaking and keys getting lost. We planned for every such contingency – we even hired a key-maker.

We were prepared.

Yet everyone kept saying things like ‘the 1st match is a learning experience.’ I looked askance at this premature consolatory philosophy, feeling confident behind the wall of planning, reading and discussing that we had done.

If only.

Comments

  1. no one can give a better rendition of IPL behind the scenes.. u should be on Extraa Innings.. awesome, brilliantly entertaining!! as always..

    ReplyDelete
  2. very interesting. love the ending =)

    ReplyDelete

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