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THE "MEMOIRS"…..OF THE "438 SYNDROME"…!!!

March 14, 2006
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What does this day mean to me?? Well..if I sit and recount the moments I spent on this day….maybe I will fall short of words….first when I got up, I was disgusted to see…TOI in my window instead of Economic Times. But everything has a purpose and I believed in that. I was sure that I wouldn’t find anything other than some crap written about some of the most unimportant things happening around us in the front page of TOI…but to my surprise….there was an article which completely took me by surprise. It said…this is the Platinum year of celebration of talkie movies in India…..it was exactly 75 years ago, that on this day, 12th march, 1931 that “Alam Ara” India’s first talkie movie was released. The whole page had some interesting stats and analysis of the most famous films, most famous villains, and stars in their eras, movies that changed some lives, the highest earning movies and loads of other stuff…..as the time passed, I was eagerly awaiting for the moment when we, the English Press Club of BITS, Pilani will go out for a movie for the first time. Finally we ended up in what I shall describe later as my new found hangout, Lakshmi Talkies. I should say, it’s gonna be the PVR of Pilani, given the variety and frequency of new movies that we get to see these days in this cinema hall. I had talked to the owner some 2 days back and asked him to screen some English movies too. We promised him that he can expect a good BITSian turnout, especially during this time when there are no tests. So….on my request he agreed to show, “Memoirs of Geisha” and “Crash”. The day when we went there….they were gonna screen the first movie. I had seen few trailers of this movie and thought that it will be very interesting. Well by the end of the movie, I don’t know if I was bored or if the movie was not that good. That’s not the point anyway….all that matters is that…there was something that could make 20 of us to hang out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and for that I shall never forget that experience. But as murphy’s law goes…”if something has to go wrong, it will”….yes, it holds true everytime….and on that day….an innocent and unexpected nail tore my pants on the left side…:)…..and while coming back from the whole…what I can say….a good outing…..i saw somebody…whom I was least expecting at that moment and whom I thought should be the last one to know what had happened to my dress…:)…but…I should say….there was no other moment more suitable than that….when I believed in the saying…”everything happens for a reason”…..i was so thankful to God….that it didn’t happen on my right side…hehehe…..:)…..

After I came back to the campus…..i was kinda shocked to see an empty C-lawns…a very unlike phenomenon especially on a Sunday evening…..and was wondering since when so many people had taken some interest in watching the India vs England test match in Mohali….and to add to my doubts, I heard loud shouts from the common room. Phew!,….i thought some things never change. I came back to the room and opened my laptop….and what I saw on the homepage was absolutely shocking…Aussies had made 434/4 at the end of 50 overs against South Africa in the last of the 5 match series and the series decider ….Ricky Pointing had made 165 runs in 105 balls…to take Aussies to the peaks of world cricket. It was right on top…..no other team had scored more than 400 runs in an innings since the time when Geoffery Boycott played the first ball of the ODI matches in mid 70’s. But I was on the Proteas side…..they have come a long way since 1992…when they made their debut in International cricket after their Independence. I think no other team in cricket can be as unlucky as South Africans….everytime when they were at the edge of a deserving win…..rain gods would create havoc and the %*@!ing Duckworth Lewis method would screw them so badly that victory will be miles away. For a quick recap….in 1992 world cup they were about to win in a match and the rain changed the whole equation…and thanks to D/L method the final target was….22 runs to win in 1 ball. Can you believe that!!….and in 1999 world cup, they lost the quarter finals to Australia….and later when both of them qualified for semi-finals…..something happened….something that should never have…..everyone who had seen that season of cricket wouldn’t forget to acknowledge the heroics of Lance Klusner “Zulu”….as he is better known as….he unleashed his power strokes, almost a baseball style of hitting the ball in every match of that world cup….and in that unfortunate semi-final due to the most unfortunate run out of his fellow team-mate in the final over…the scores were tied and the match was a draw. Now, the tragedy was that….Australia was declared as a winner because it had defeated South Africa in quarter finals. I will never forget that moment. These people have changed the way people play cricket in the past 14 years….their fielding was their trademark….i remember, sometimes I just used to see their matches to see how beautifully Jonty Rhodes, dives to catch a ball….:)

And today on 12th march they had the most daunting task in their whole cricketing careers. What does it mean to chase 434 against the supposedly the most ruthless team in the world today??….what does it mean to win in front of that very same….Wanderers stadium crowd where India lost by 125 runs to Aussies in 2003 world cup finals??….i heard that the crowd was the most patriotic in the whole of SA here in this stadium….it would have been like…..India, playing against Pakistan in Eden Gardens….if I can draw a similarity. I was oblivious to all these things till the 25th over of the South African innings, when finally I decided to see the match to see if my favourite team will be able to achieve the almost impossible task of winning the match??….when I entered the room….i found everyone jumping with joy…..Oh boy!. and why not….Gibbs was playing so well….he was playing like a God…..he reminded me of this headline when Sachin played against Pakistan in the 2003 world cup quarter finals….it said…..”Sachin does a Shiva-Thandava”…..i can sincerely keep my hand on my heart and say…Gibbs was something more than that…..:)…..every ball bowled was being scored…..4’s and 6’s seemed like a child’s play…..even though they were maintaining the run rate at over 9 per over, the required run rate was always over 8 per over. I joined the party and went with the flow…every run scored was being greeted as if it was the winning run….and why not…..how many times can you see a team scoring 245 runs in 25 overs!!!!….:)….

Finally in the 32nd over the party came to a halt when Symonds got Gibbs’s wicket after being smashed for 2 consecutive 6’s….man….that was some moment….he walked like a Gladiator after killing the tiger!…he literally made the whole target seem so possible….i mean after all what was the equation??….136 runs needed in 18 overs….:)….and still there were players who could kick aussies ass..…:)…..but I should say…for the next 8-9 overs I was very much disappointed…no boundaries….even the runs were coming in only singles and some rare 2’s…..the asking rate escalated to 10 per over….i decided to walk out from the room but it was that one shot from….van der Wath which gave some hopes…..and there were 2 overs which went for more than 30 runs…Boucher was playing intelligently…hitting the required runs…and rotating strike…everything seemed possible now…..we just needed 1 good over to change the whole equation in favour of South Africa….then came Lewis….i donno which part of Australia he belongs to…but I shall have great respect for him for my entire life….he literally supplied the turbo power to Proteas….to go close to that winning target….how often can you see a bowler being smashed for 113 runs in 10 overs without any wicket…..:)….after the fall of van der wath came….Roger Telemachus….oh…boy he was good…he did his job and pushed SA closer to victory…..after his fall came Andrew Hall…..that 4 of his in the final over raised hopes further….from 435 to win in 300 balls….the equation had dropped to 7 to win from 6 balls…..this last over will perhaps be the greatest drama you can ask from the THE GREATEST GAME OF CRICKET ever played…..

50th over: 7 runs to win…..6 balls remaining….2 wickets in hand….Boucher is on strike..

1st ball: Boucher hits the ball hard…straight down the ground….but out of nowhere Brett Lee puts his leg to stop the ball….only a single taken. Andrew Hall is on strike….5 balls ……6 runs to win…2 wickets in hand.

2nd ball: Hall strikes the ball for a 4…..everybody is dancing now….SA just 2 runs short of the greatest chase ever.

3rd ball: Hall again tries to hit the ball for fence….but fails to connect it properly…and offers a simple catch…..SA….need 2 runs to win in 3 balls….1 wicket remaining…..Makhaya Ntini comes on strike….everybody knows that he cannot bat at all..

4th ball: I think Zeus was pleased with the greatest effort of all time….and he lets Ntini to nick the ball to the third man…..the scores are tied now…everybody goes berserk… Boucher on strike now…SA need 1 run to win from 2 balls and 1 wicket remaining….

I am sure Boucher must have thought of the similar moment in the semi-final of 1999 world cup….and there was no way he was gonna goof up today and have that tag of “chokers” for eternity.

5th ball: Boucher hits the ball over the mid-field…..for a 4…..he finishes his 50…but more than anything…..gives….SA the greatest victory of all time…..to me it was like….Achilles conquering the shores of Troy….

Finally….SA ended up making 438/9 in 49.5 overs to steal the victory …kicking Aussies ass……I loved that poster that a South African spectators was displaying…..”Proteas are gonna have…Kangaroo for Dinner….”….that was true…..it was a moment that defined everything that shock…happiness…tears….meant. I had lost my voice….perhaps…my use of the word….”*@%$”….’n’ number of times was one reason…..the moment was like that…just couldn’t help it…..it just meant everything for me…..it’s the reason….why Cricket rules!…..it’s the reason why Cricket is a religion….:)……I was reeling under the 438 syndrome……just couldn’t believe anything at that moment…..i can say…..”there comes a moment in our lives which doesn’t need words to describe itself….there comes a moment which we can remember for our eternity….there comes a moment which stands for hope in the darkest of the times…..it’s like watching…a beautiful starlit sky on a clear night….there at that moment you don’t need words to describe how beautiful things are….it’s like…..”…..for me….it’s this moment that I shall never forget……that is what my dear…I call as…..the 438 syndrome…..:)…..

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jay permalink
    March 14, 2006 11:29 pm

    Hemanth, nice work. Enjoyed every bit of this post. Could easily imagine you actually telling me all this in converstaion. Keep going, buddy.

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