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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Aussie ki Tehsi: The night before the DAY

After a hupsh flight comprising of insomnia, three movies interrupted by slightly noisy cuddling couple in the next seats and intermittent bad French wine, we finally landed early morning (by my standards) in Melbourne. Well, at least for Lal and myself, it was still a direct flight as opposed to our other partner in crime and cheap Ganji who had taken a four-hour stop-over at Perth in the dead hours of night. He, infact, started two hours before us and arrived two hours after.

I was looking forward to some authentic Aussie welcome but was utterly disappointed in the warm and friendly people at the airport. The guys even helped me carry my luggage in small snippets off and on the conveyer belt. The airport was small but people were big, really big. I spent the next couple of hours waiting for Ponna and used it to make small talks with Lal and later, having exhausted that possibility, moved on to read the Melbourne tourist booklet. The city is worth coming to, even without cricket. But that is not what this trip is about now, is it.

Ponna arrived, followed by Ganji an hour later and we were immediately off to a marathon luncheon lasting a good three hours. Held at Ponna’s family friend and attended by the Who’s who of overseas Srilankan community (One of whom offered us his BMW during our stay which we gladly took up), it was a pleasant atmosphere and at any other time, it would have been an awesome welcome. Just that, all three of us had not slept for the past 24-30 hours and were really zonked out accompanied by temporary attention deficit disorder. The food was awesome and the prayer administered before the food, touching. Just before zoning out to dreamland, we helped a friend patch up a rocky relationship in the true American Pie fashion and be done with the good deed of the day.

Rejuvenated with a three hour sleeping session (Somehow, I slept like a log even with Ganji sleeping right next in a bed the size of which will embarrass hobbits), we finally got to meet Karthik Bangalore. The stage is set for an adventurous trip with all riders uniquely equipped (with the exception of yours truly). It turns out that Kartik is an avid sports freak with his databank and strong opinions spread from baseball to rugby, an ideal guy to chip away at during a moment of dullness (which will be hard to come by, in the first place).

The evening was spent in warm debate with Uncle Ponna over topics ranging from Srilankan cricket to firing employees to spotting stars in southern light and with Auntie Ponna over chick-flicks/Bodyline TV series, the background made colorful by masala chai, homemade cake and “You have got mail” aired on TV.

We are all united in our view that Indians should win the toss and bat first. Since the latter is the key objective, we pondered over writing a petition to Ricky Ponting for letting India bat for the greater good, in the event that he wins the toss, but somehow, the odds didn’t seem right.

Tomorrow is D-day and I am still up at 3.30AM local time. I just hope that I get up in time for the train journey that promises to be such a cultural event full of racial taunts. I am looking forward to it.

For an alternate view, refer Footnotes on page 4. Typed at around the same time, no notes compared.

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