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IPL diary - week 8

Sunday, May 27

There was no alarm needed to wake me up on what was my final day in India. With a spring in my step, I made my way to breakfast at about 9am which was rather earlier than normal. I could not stay in bed you see, I was eager for the day to move along so that I could make the pleasurable trek back home after a long time away.

As was the case on the previous morning, everybody was chatty and happy about the whole Indian voyage coming to an end. I sat around and talked about nothing in particular with Doully, Sunny and Rob the floor manager. It even led to one of the guys asking if I was alright – normally, I am not short of a word but on this morning, I was day-dreaming about my first helping of pap in two months. Wow! It had been ages.

Two or three hours passed at breakfast and then I made my way back to my room where I packed and repacked my suitcase a couple of times so that everything fitted just right. One gathers a lot of unnecessary stuff while being away. Many a shirt was purposely left hanging in the cupboard with a few bits and bobs given away to the housekeeping guys – it is the normal routine for just about everybody on that last packing occasion. What goes home is only what must.

Arrival at the stadium for any final is always way too early and there was no difference in that case. We did a lot of sitting around, taking photos and enjoying idle banter as we waited for 8pm to strike so that the match could get under way.

What a match it was too. Normally finals are just downright boringm but this one was a cracker and we got the right result too from an unlikely position. A great end to a good trip!

I said many “till we meet agains” and made my way back to the hotel for a shower before going off to the airport. Job done, home calling and I was ready to answer the call.

Till the next time!

Saturday, May 26

Thoughts of home now perpetually stay on my mind and what I think when I awake is that it is one more sleep before I will be on the plane back to see my family. My Indian voyage was just about over.

Breakfast was long and happy, with all the crew very chatty and excited that there was only the big final left to do and then we would all be on our way home.

Simon Doull, Rob Muller (the floor manager) and I decided to go off to the mall to do some last-minute shopping so as to take gifts back home. Normally, I would not spend more than an hour or so at a mall....apart from the time I wound up with Kirsty and Linda from crew D in Kolkata. Well, we got to the mall at about 1pm and probably walked into 80% of the shops at the Express mall buying this and that, but mainly having a look and returned to the hotel at a little after 5.30pm. I believe that is a record for all of us. Wow!!

Back at the hotel, I laid my head down for a bit in my room and just as I thought I would relax before going to find some food and then retiring early I got a call from Doully. Many members of the crew were in the bar and not turning up for a drink with them would have been ‘rude’. So a drink or two was had by all who were there accompanied by lots of interesting and silly chat. It was fun.

The bedside clock read 0034 when I turned my lights out. So much for a bite to eat. My final sleep.

Friday, May 25

It is a special day in Africa, Africa Day. I woke up at 6am and got myself ready to fly off to Chennai. We were leaving the hotel at 7am so had no time to waste as I had to pack, shower and also get a bite to eat before we left. I was a touch late...perhaps five or so minutes as it took a while for the guys in the breakfast room to bring me bacon for my sandwich.

It was goodbye to the Taj after a lovely time there and I could not help but think that I was going on my final domestic flight in India. It made me feel that home was not far away at all, I was very nearly there and excited about it too; just two more sleeps!

The flight seemed to go very quickly as I used the couple of hours in the air to get more sleep (that ability to just shut my eyes and fall asleep coming in handy again) and I woke up when we touched down at Chennai airport...I felt refreshed; not the way one would normally feel after a flight.

The heat of Chennai is legendary, it is also very humid and both Doully and I had our memories of the heat and humidity jogged as we exited the airport. Fortunately we did not have to hang around too long for our driver who took us to the Hyatt Regency.

Our call time was 1730hrs so we had time to iron our clothes and also touch up on our research for the match. I also managed to get a gym session in so I could pep up and energise myself before work. Chennai sailed through to the final...again! Thanks mainly, in my opinion, to the defensive nature in which the Delhi Daredevils approached things on the day. Everybody in the commentary box and also, according to twitter, those watching the match in various countries could not believe that Morne Morkel had been dropped for Delhi’s biggest and most important match. It was baffling! The game was one sided and meant that Chennai had made it to another final, the fourth out of five.

We got back to the Hyatt close to midnight and had a few drinks before bed just to unwind. There was just one game to go. Yippee!!

Thursday, May 24

There was no need for an early wake up and I was very pleased about that as it meant I could have a lie in after waking up at about 9am. I caught up on the playoff match by watching highlights on the telly and reading the copy of “Times of India” which had been hung on my door knob. As I would be working on the next match, I needed to find out exactly how Chennai had attained victory to keep the hopes of defending their title alive.

An hour or so later, I had breakfast with Doully and we planned just how we would spend our lazy Thursday. I commended him on coming up with the idea that we spend a couple of days in Mumbai and only fly to Chennai on the day of the match we were working on next....it was a grand plan and I was chuffed to be chilling out at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Over our poached eggs and omelettes, we resolved that we would spend some time at the pool a bit later and then went our separate ways to just rest up a little more in our rooms.

As is just about always the case, it was a hot day and having a swim was fabulous. In between dipping in the water, I read a book and chatted to Doully, who was baking himself in the sun to improve his tan....I don’t think I require a tan so I lay in the shade of an umbrella on a recliner next to him. A couple of hours are all I could manage before I felt too uncomfortable and return to the air conditioning.

At about 7pm we headed out to find some dinner and our spot for the evening was the famous Leopold Cafe, which is a very short walk from the hotel. It was well occupied and had a bubbly atmosphere with people either having drinks or eating and having a chat at their tables. We enjoyed our chicken tikka and butter chicken with nan bread and then pretty much straight after eating headed back in need of our beds. We had over eaten again.

We had a travel and work day to follow so we went to bed early. I love the lazy days.

Wednesday, May 23

I vaguely remember hearing my phone alarm going off and as I reached over to silence it, my intention was to have another ten or so minutes of sleep. I told Doully that we would meet for breakfast at about 9:30am in the dining room downstairs...that did not happen. The next time that I awoke it was nearly 2pm and I reckon my eyes opened because I was hungry. First things first; I had to call Doully to apologise for not surfacing until so late in the day.

Having missed breakfast and just about past lunch time, I decided I would get some exercise so went onto the treadmill for three quarters of an hour. I saw Doully by the pool, busy baking himself, and I went over to say hello and make plans for the evening. We decided we’d go over to the tried and trusted Indigo deli for some food and also to catch the second qualifier between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.

By the time I am done showering and getting ready it is just about 6 o’clock and I was starving. The deli was good as usual and while I could not help gorging myself to make up for the meals I missed, Doully was happy to eat normally and have a couple of drinks as we watched the cricket. Our chats were about the controversies at the IPL as we’d both heard the news that Luke Pomersbach had the charges brought against him dropped...moral of the story is that we both felt it was time to get home.

Our two-minute walk back to the hotel was a quiet one as we tried to fend of balloon sellers and the guys trying to convince us to go on a horse cart ride.

All that doing nothing in the day had made me pretty tired and I fell asleep during what I am told was a pretty interesting game of cricket. Ah well!!!

Tuesday, May 22

It’s eight in the morning and on this day I find myself in Pune; I have been all over the place throughout the trip. That is the thought that goes through my mind as I lay in bed wondering whether to get up and go for some exercise or not...in the end, I opt for a shower without prior sweating from exertion. It is another lazy day as my zest has been eaten away by the time spent away from home, which is unusual as I am not usually one to get homesick.

For the playoff match that is on later in the day, it is Crew C that will be in operation and I get to see some of the members of that crew for the first time on the trip when I get down to breakfast. As usual, it’s good to see guys that I have not worked with for a long time and so we exchange greetings and stories about how things have gone on our work trip. Mad Morrison is also working on the match so I see him at breakfast as well...as energetic as ever. It’s good to see him.

After a hearty breakfast, I can go and relax in my room and pack my bags before heading to the Subrata Roy Stadium for work. After the game, I shall make my way to Mumbai to spend a couple of lazy days at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel...some pool time (in the shade as I do not need the tan). Simon Doull would do the same so I would have company.

Sanjay Manjrekar, whom I had heard and seen on the telly but not crossed paths with, is in the lobby when I get down there as is Dermot Reeve, who has his daughter with him. She is tagging along with her dad for the final week of the IPL. The match is a good one for the Kolkata Knight Riders as they book their place in the tournament final for the first time ever with a comprehensive win over the Delhi Daredevils.

At about half past midnight Doully, Rishabh (the production coordinator) and I set off with our driver Siddique; we have a couple of drinks to pass the time as we drive along. An alcoholic beverage each only serves to put us to asleep as we are already weary from work. We arrive at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel at just before 3am and head straight to bed.

It seems to have been a rather long day.

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