“idha..paar…summa thirumal naaikar mahaal maadhiri ‘gudhula”
That’s Tamil. And that’s what Raju says, in MMKR, when he enters what’s supposed to be his own house (but actually Madan’s) gaping at the sheer massiveness. And that’s what some of us felt like when we entered the Melbourne Cricket Ground, popularly called the ‘G’, for the Boxing Day Test 2011. It’s simply massive and that’s an understatement. You can imagine why it is considered special to score runs here. This is apparent from the view from the top tier of the Southern Stand as you look down at the middle with a fast bowler charging in and Sachin Tendulkar on strike. There is some sort of a gravitational pull that makes you check yourself every time you stand up on your seat or take a panoramic view of the stadium. If this is what feels like at the top, what would it be like at the middle with a 100,000 odd pairs of eyes looking down upon you? A seat belt would be great! Here is Mahesh on the ‘G’ experience.
We entered everyday through Gate 5 that’s opposite Keith Miller’s stylish and imposing statue. Except for the 2nd innings collapse, we left the G confident after every single day’s play. It can’t get better than watching a flawless Sachin 73 with the kind of fast bowling that Mahesh describes here in this kind of an arena. The disappointment of his last over wicket on Day 2 was wiped off when a mildly tipsy Australian met us outside and spoke about how he is afraid of Laxman as far as Day 3 is concerned. Of course we know how everything ended and that’s that.
Melbourne is a city of co-existence. A lot of things occur, exist in harmony with each other here. Australians love their sports and Melbourne is obviously some sort of a capital city as far as that is concerned. There is MCG where cricket and Australian football are played and a few blocks away there is the Rod Laver Arena and the rest of the show courts of the Australian Open. There is a Hisense Arena and a new soccer stadium recently built next to it. This co-existence quality, as funny as it sounds, is also especially true of the weather. It’s sunny, hot, windy and cold at the same time that it’s almost always a gamble as far as your clothes are concerned. So you see some dressed like it’s summer or fall and some fully covered with coats and sweatshirts on the same sidewalk.
And amongst all this there is a sports based vibration around the Melbourne Park/Yarra Park area. A very Hindu concept of how a continuously worshiped idol obtains strengths of divinity with time could be felt here. So much of sporting history and so much of greatness showed, felt and observed over the years that the concept might well be true.