Tour Diary: Flying with RCB, and meeting Jonty
Superfast check-ins, squealing teenagers, and a chance encounter with a cricketing rockstar.
The picnic bus ride
It was a scene reminiscent of high school outings. At 7 A.M., groggy students (players) trudged out of the Trident in Bombay, piled into the bus and fussed over seats. The teacher (team manager) then came over and checked attendance. Once settled, out came the toys. Virat's jazzy speakers, Manish's BlackBerry and Eoin's sitcom spouting Ipod. The bus sped along merrily, and the only thing missing was loud singing. Ideas for team bus theme songs, anyone?
In my experience, the zig zag check-in line has always been a time-consuming monster, but here, tickets were presented, nay, gifted, the security guard said hi and actually smiled, and lounge service broke the record for fastest idlis made. Moral of the story: Next time you're late for a flight, make friends with the nearest IPL team.
The 'Dravidian' effect on teenage girls
I'll admit it, I've been waiting for a week to see it happen. And on arrival at the Bangalore airport yesterday morning, it finally did. The teenage squeals of delight on spotting Rahul.
So we got off the flight and proceeded towards baggage. As I waited at the conveyer belt, I noticed four teenage girls jumping in their positions, as if an Energizer Bunny contest was on.
As they bounced, their high pitched shrieks tested the foundation of the glass doors behind them, and I could see their eyes get starry.
As Rahul emerged, they took strategic positions behind a pillar, and jumped out, two from each side, did their 'Oh My Gods' and managed to snare a treasured photograph. As good a Sunday morning as they could have hoped for.
Aside: Jonty 'What you see is what you get''Rhodes
If the blue eyed blonde in the black T-shirt sipping a drink at the IPL after party were to set up a mike on the ramp and start crooning, he wouldn't have looked out of place. At 40, Jonty Rhodes still looks like a fit 19 year old beginning his career.
As one of my three favourite cricketers as a kid, I walked up to him to have a chat and thirty seconds in, we were sharing a laugh. Made us feel as comfortable as his captains would have been seeing him marking the Point area on the cricket field. After agreeing to catch up at leisure in Bangalore, I left, and could come up with only one word to describe him.