I cursed myself for not falling sick, then embraced the truth. Ran out of the office as soon as I could, switched my phone off (to avoid any emergency work calls, that is), and raced towards home. I wouldn't reach home for next two hours.
You see, the journey from office to home takes almost an hour. the best part of the innings would have been lost. I decided to park the bike somewhere by the roadside and watch the match on one of those display counters of electronic shops.
Too bad. A cop, sensing some easy money, came knocking.
"Who's bike is this? you should not park here! pay FINE!!!"
Sachin was about to reach 150; No way I could miss it.Handed my purse to him, said 'take the fine, sir. I'll move the bike as soon as the over is finished." without taking my eyes off the screen.
Think the cop was perplexed. He mumbled something about people wasting their time over nonsense issues.
I had to attend to this. How on earth would he call watching Sachin's batting as a waste of time? Sachin had scored 150 too- that helped a bit.
"Sir, Sachin Tendulkar- don't you know him?"
Yes.. I see him. cricket match at Chinnaswamy. security. Very small (think he was talking about Sachin's height)."
"Sir, Sachin batting really well today.. Looks like he will score 200! will be the 1st person to do it in the world, sir!"
There's something wierd about the number 1 and Indians. If they think they are (or anyone they know is) at no.1 position- they'd do anything to see it.
Slowly I filled in the guy about Various Sachin facts. and when he heard that the record Sachin might beat is that of a Pakistani- He got all worked up. Both of us went in the store- sat in comfortable AC- and watched the match, sipping the tea ordered by the store guys.
Dhoni received a bunch of healthy swearwords for hogging the strike. I sat on that comfy sofa, feeling proud about myself. After all, I (with a generous help from Sachin, of course) had converted a grumpy old cop to a vociferous cricket fan.
Finally, the moment arrived. Sachin scored that 200th run. both of us let out a loud shout, and walked out, as Dhoni was heaving the last ball over mid off boundary.
We continued our talk about cricket over a cup of tea and a cigarette outside. "I can get you in the stadium if they post me on duty some time", he said. "Thanks, sir", I replied, took the last drag off the cigarette, and pulled my bike out. "I have to reach home before the South African innings starts. what if they play like that 434 match?"
The guy smiled. "Drive slow" were his parting words.
I witnessed an extraordinary event, and was part of another. Sachin was responsible for both. After all, it's not every day that a cop pulls you out for a violation, talks to you for over two hours, pays for the tea and cigarette he shares with you, and lets you off with nothing but a warning.
They say it right when they say "Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting. They'll go unnoticed because even the God is watching."