Striking gold with green
How a tiny strip of paper takes you into a starry, starry world.
As I walked down the long hallway next to the Eden Pavilion at the ITC Sonar three hours after the KKR-RCB match, there was a tap on my shoulder.
I turned around, and three teenagers babbled excitedly, "Can you give us a green band?"
Perplexed, I enquired, "What green band?"
"You know, the one IPL associated people are getting as entrance badges for tonight's party where Shah Rukh is coming", came the hopeful reply.
The RCB jersey I was wearing explained why they'd approached me, and the pockets of darting eyes at the hotel entrance began to make sense.
I was told some people had been waiting there since morning, and according to an apocryphal story, amongst them was an heiress of a multi-hundred crore Indian business conglomerate.
I'd been heading to my room to change, and it dawned on me that it wasn't going to be just any after party.
'IPL Nights' was going to be huge.
Half an hour later, the Chiefs walked in to Pala, The Sonar's Ballroom, and sure enough, the 'green band' was the ticket to the show.
We exchanged pleasantries with the RCB players. Praveen Kumar was his cheerful self, Jacques, Boucher and Van Der Merwe were smartly turned out in crisp shirts. Dale Steyn went with casual clothing, and carried it off smooth.
As is the case with most storms, there was a lull here too.
And then it happened.
In the space of 147 seconds, the room was embellished with the presence of Shah Rukh (Charm is him) and Priyanka Chopra (as gorgeous in person as she is on screen).
To add to the glow, in walked two of my favourites, Wasim Akram and Brian Charles Lara.
It was internal hysteria. The mind said 'shoosh', the heart wanted a glow in the dark pitch to be set up right there, and illuminated by Wasim bowling a yorker and Brian unleashing a drive, bringing the bat down from his high backswing just in time.
And to have Shah Rukh and Priyanka host the night while the greats were at it.
Eventually though, the actors nodded through a glitzy Manish Malhotra show as Lalit Modi turned up too, then left. And DJ Hussain spun some great tracks to keep the party going.
But the damage was done. We'd been dazzled by sheer presence, melted by manner and blinded by beauty.
Oh. My eyes!