There are followers.
There are fans.
And then, there are maniacs.
When it comes to the Chennai Super Kings, I fall into the third bucket.
The company I work for is one of the sponsors and the official e-Commerce partner of the Chennai Super Kings for this edition of Indian Premier League. So when I got to know there was a meet and greet function organized, where we’d get a chance to meet a few CSK players, I wasn’t going to miss it!
Paaru and I reached the gates of ITC Maurya, realizing (as we walked to the entrance) that we were a bit over-dressed for the occasion.
Right at the entrance near the reception area, I spotted Ishwar Pandey, Pawan Negi, Mohit Sharma and Russel (the CSK manager who is hyper-active on Twitter). With players so accessible, I though it was going to be a great evening. Realized later that I wasn’t disappointed.
All three players were into their phones. Talk about heights of technology overdose. Just for a moment when Ishwar Pandey looked up, I seized the opportunity to request him for a pic. He obliged. We wished him good luck for this IPL campaign and clicked a selfie with him.
Just when I was about to meet Mohit Sharma, a bouncer whose biceps would have made Dwayne the Rock Johnson jealous pushed me aside with a stern look. “No more pictures”. That’s all he said.
Shortly, the players vacated the reception area, still deeply engrossed in their phones.
A little while later, I bumped into Irfan Pathan near the loo. “Irfaaaaan, big fan!!! One pic please”, I exclaimed. “Hi (looking into his phone), give me a moment. I am trying to figure my things out”. And off, he vanished.
After 2 futile attempts of giving those big players a chance to get pictures clicked with me, I gave up.
The event kick-started at 8 pm. The CSK players made it to the stage with a huuuge roar from the crowd. Non-stop whistles as Mike Hussey, Suresh Raina, Ravi Ashwin, Irfan Pathan and Ronit More made it to the stage one by one.
Hussey wore that infectious smile all through the evening. What a gentleman! Ronit More was a sub for Sir Jadeja who was initially slated to attend the event. Raina, Ashwin and Irfan Pathan didn’t miss a single opportunity to kalaaichify (make fun of) Ronit More. Ashwin called Ronit the upcoming Waqar Younis of India, while Raina and Irfan set him up with a girl, who made him blush all through the evening. Hussey and Ashwin played Dumb Charades with loud cheers from the audience. Irfan sang a couple of songs. Raina judged people from the audience who went on stage to enact their favorite “Sholay” scenes, Sholay being Raina’s all time favorite movie. Raina and irfan enacted a few scenes too.
To see the CSK stars laughing their hearts out just a day after a thumping defeat against the Delhi Daredevils was a lesson in itself.
The crowd was well organized and all of us got a chance to get clicked with the CSK lions.
I managed to say, “Huge fan Sir!”, to Mike Hussey who was sitting in the corner. He smiled back!
Something I can tell my grandchildren. “I have a pic with Mr. Cricket!”.
An evening with the Chennai Super Kings that I’ll remember for a long time!