I am excited to present this first guest post on my blog. I understand that it might appear to break a pattern but I intend to keep streamlining this as we move forward. Please keep those suggestions coming in from all directions.
The New Year actually started on a new high before an impromptu slump to a new low – one of the most contrasting high and low of my life. The weather has played an important role in my life since my engineering days in Bangalore and even here in Melbourne, though I have come a long way, literally as well as personally, weather does seem to hang onto me in a peculiar way.
It started raining on the New Year Eve, just enough to spoil the planned fireworks in the heart of the city which apparently I had planned to witness. Although there is no comparison between the fireworks in Melbourne and those in Sydney, the experience was worth every drop of rain dripping from my clothes after the spectacular event. Every tall building in the CBD (Central Business District) hosted the fireworks from their respective roofs and not before long, 9/11 bombing on WTC started to look insipid. The atmosphere was lightning, literally as well, and I stood there in midst of 150,000 revellers, looking up at the natural and artificial lightning at the same time and I just could not miss the bright moon, seemingly giving tough competition to other bright things around it.
2nd January 2010, I witnessed another beauty that Melbourne boasts of and rightly so, Melbourne Cricket Ground, a ground that stands out in cricket grounds’ fraternity as one with a very rich history and some unforgettable matches. The match in question was a 20-20 affair between arguably the two best domestic teams in Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The attendance was the most for any domestic match ever played in Australia – 60,000 odd crazy fans. It was my first time to a live match and what better place could I have asked for than MCG. I have to mention that the crowd at MCG is unique in their own way. Unusually, the crowd’s priorities in descending order – gulp beer, involve in ball playing activity and support their team (seldom required). The activity that I mention above is entertaining, sometimes more than the match. Almost everybody comes with a ball, filled with gas, and one of them starts by punching the ball in the air. Now, whoever the ball lands at has to make sure that he/she punches the ball in a way that no security guard is able to catch it, i.e. the ball has to be punched to one of the spectators, and it goes on until the ball is eventually caught by one of the security guards. As soon as that happens, everybody in the crowd gets up, points their finger at the culprit and shouts at the top of their voice “1,2,3,4..you are a wanker”. It can be really embarrassing as the entire MCG is looking at miserable you. The new ball comes up from somewhere and literally, the ball keeps rolling. Unmistakably, Aussies are very passionate and serious about their sports; that is another reason why Australian players never feel lonely in hard times, the crowd cheers them up in a way which can be felt sitting there as a message that directly transmits from fans to the players.
The high of New Year did not stop there. On the morning of 3rd Jan 2010, I found myself on my way to indisputably the best drive in the world (although I could not make the most of it as I was not driving but intend to be on that road again before I bid Melbourne goodbye). The journey did not start on a good note as I found quite early that the battery of my camera would not last me the entire journey (thanks to my friend) and ironically, the last photograph to be clicked was a huge entry board which read “Welcome to Great Ocean Road”. Welcomed I was. As I digested the fact that I will have to be content with my cell phone’s camera, the worst speed breaker of the journey hit all of us – there was a major road accident on the road ahead. As I started to rue the missed chance, the driver suggested taking recourse which meant trivial changes in the plan, much to our delight. To cut the chase, the drive is not only picturesque but has some history as well – 12 Apostles were a treat to watch (only 9 are left now, the latest going down in June last year), London Bridge was as exquisite as the name implies – the bridge is in bad shape with the deterioration and seemed to represent London post Global Financial Crisis. In the middle of these two landmarks, we made a stop at apparently the very place where the shooting of the song “Khuda Jaane” from the movie “Bachna Ae Haseeno” took place. I posed for some”heroic” snapshots and my friend had the patience to tolerate my atrocities.
The New Year celebration got stretched a bit more than I even knew on the New Year Eve. I started with 150,000 strangers in the middle of sports city of Australia, cherished an awesome cricket match which finished with Bravo hitting a six landing 3 rows ahead of me and ended with the music of waves in my ears and tranquillity of my surroundings in my mind; felt like stranded on an island with no track of the time, almost losing the arrival of 2010, another New Year in my life, before the driver threatened to head back to Melbourne without me.