Being a celebrity looks fun and challenging. Being a fan is definitely more fun than challenging. But being celebrity fan can be a strange mixture of thrilling and embarrassing. This story is how my few seconds of fame sold a few tickets of a Bollywood movie, brought a few friends back into my universe and reminded me of an embarrassing, but now a famous moment. This is the story of how I got a few seconds of screen time and fame on ‘Sachin: A Billion dreams.'
I am a huge cricket fan. It is a moniker and a title that is thrown around quite a lot. So let me distinguish myself by saying that my final paper for MS in e-business was on cricket. I have helped bring cricket to intramural level in university, organised 'havans' for world cups and travelled around the world to watch cricket. More of that in some other blog.
The pledge to travel to all Cricket World Cups germinated from India losing the finals in the 2003 World Cup. I decided, it was probably because fans like me were not there in stadium to support and give that extra edge. I decided to travel for every Cricket World Cup. The next one was in 2007 in West Indies. I had just started by career and knew it would be a monumental task to save money for a visit to Trinidad and Tobago. But I started saving right away and eventually was able to cough up enough for the travel. My visa interview with US Embassy lasted all but 60 seconds, and most of it was the visa counsellor laughing about the reason I wanted to use the US visa, which was- as a transit point to watch the Cricket World Cup since tickets were cheaper on that route.
The last piece of puzzle was finding a place to stay. I hunted down Trinidad and Tobago groups on Orkut and wrote messages to more than 100 people asking them to recommend a place to stay. This was before Facebook and AirBnB days. I received 4 responses, of which one sounded very good. I reached out and finalised the arrangements.
After a 50-hour flight, I landed in Port-of-Spain. It was abuzz with Indian fans from US and UK but very few from India had braved and paid their way. The match between India and Sri Lanka was tense and remains till date, a blurry, bad memory. I do remember, however, a cavalcade of wickets tumbling- including that of Sachin Tendulkar. My hero. It was surreal. Is this what I had saved money for? Is this what I had sacrificed many good things in life for the last several years? And worse…..Am I the bringer of bad luck? The emotions just started building up and I could not take it anymore. Around the 7thIndian wicket, I walked out of the stadium and tears rolled out of my eyes. I was irritated, frustrated and devastated.
At that time, a cameraman popped up and started shooting me during this nightmare. I tried to look away and eventually let me emotion take over, still rambling about the ‘rubbishness’ of the situation. My friends in India and around the world watched, and I got some funny, some nasty, some hilarious text messages. This is the genesis of the short ‘blink-and-you-miss’ scene in the movie ‘Sachin: A billion Dreams’. I had become the face of the disappointed and disgusted Indian fan.
This clip first appeared in Greg Chappel’s 3-episode series that was aired in Australia a few years back. I heard about it from my friends in Australia and was glad that such an embarrassing episode was behind me. Well, destiny had other plans. The scene was resurrected in the movie 'Sachin – A billion Dreams.'
This ‘incident’ is embarrassing and thrilling at the same time. After the movie released, I did hear from a lot of old friends, who also reminded me of my other idiosyncrasies around my love for sports and cricket. What makes me happy is that Sachin Tendulkar and the Indian team changed its losing ways after such fan pressure and won the next World Cup in India. As the ‘face of the Indian fan’s disappointment,’ I can claim some of the credit legitimately now.
By the way, I still travel for every world cup!