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Chinese cricket fever


I don’t mind. 

Lets go.

We walked a small distance, reached a line of shops – bank, pastry, gift, tyre(?) empty shop then hair spa, boutique, empty empty, till we reached Chinese 1 & Chinese 2. She entered Chinese 2, i followed. 

Why did we come to Chinese 2 – why not Chinese 1? 

Highly recommended, she said while going through the menu. 

I looked around. 8 tables placed in horizontal & vertical – couple of them on either side near the exit could seat 10 (family & friends), further down were 4 seaters (hubby-wife + kid{s}) & at the very end was a couples only two seater. Some interior designers warped dream of human evolution or a way to maximise space – a stand alone restaurant’s typical layout. 

Next to our table was a youngish chap out with a couple of aunts/guardians, take your pick. They were flaunting their greys – saree & hair as they shared his excitement about his new job prospects in Amsterdam. As i decided between rice & noodles, the aunts speculated on life & wife options. When a man with North Eastern  features came smiling towards us – Mr Manager.  

Could you recommend something meaty yet non spicy?

Try the mix meat burn garlic rice.

And in vegetarian, for her? 

Take the mushroom & broccoli combo rice. 

Throughout the time the Manager kept smiling. By the time we finished ordering, we had a silly grin on our faces as well. I kept watching him as he walked further off towards the kitchen. Thats when my eyes fell on the giant screen TV. 

Is there some match today? 

Finals of the T-20 world cup between NZ and Aus – i recollected. 

She nodded before digging her nose into her mobile.. Then i saw something across us at the 4 seater which seated man, wife & 4 year old. Man in a blue sweat-shirt facing the door & salwar kameez clad wife plus kid were facing the telly.  The movement i saw was the man swinging his neck at 180 to look at the telly right behind.  

I thought you stopped watching cricket? 

I have,  i replied still watching the proceedings. 

The man swung his neck again – i saw his reaction, quickly turned towards the telly. NZ just lost another wicket – 76 for 2. 

I looked ahead towards her. She was smiling at me. 


Nothing – she lied & laughed. Food arrived – we began eating. Whoever had recommended it must be good – the food was excellent. NZ batsmen were going along fine – not too many runs but not loosing too many wickets either. At that time, two couples occupied tables near us.  

The first couple entered and walked side by side. When the white shirt guy saw the giant screen at the other end. He quickened his steps dodged an incoming staffer, overtook his T-shirt clad girl & sat on the four seater strategically facing the telly. T-shirt clad girl raised her eyebrows as she had no option but to sit facing him. 

The second couple – tattooed wrist guy & sundress girl followed & sat together on the two seater right before the telly. Immediately girl starts questioning the staff in English, staff replies in Hindi while tattooed wrist guy gets a call. He picks up speaks in Marathi that he is busy eating Chinese with V (sundress girl’s name) but stresses more on the match score & begins an intense discussion.

What will you have? She asks him in English.

Soup – he breaks from his conversation with difficulty to answer back. 

What soup? Asks in english. No reply. Next she raises voice asks in Marathi. 

Chicken soup – he replies while throwing her a look. 

Aus player drops a catch – a sitter – ball passes between two players for a four. The girl orders for the both of them. I toy with the idea of ordering a curry as i find the rice is a bit dry. Then i see moment again. Salwar clad lady standing up. Blue sweatshirt guy pacifying her –

Its okay. I don’t need to watch it….

Sure? She cocked her head daring him to answer. 

Arrey sit down. Why are you …. he coaxed her to sit down & looked straight ahead. 

Meanwhile – ad. break on telly. Glam model urges me to try pharmacy app, Bollywood superstar endorses tobacco company. 

You are so hooked, even watching the ads! she interrupted

Quite interesting whats happening – i replied. 

Whats that? 

Back in the day – i pointed to the ad – glam model would endorse tobacco & superstars would endorse medicines. Now….

Haha – she laughed in agreement. Actually back in the day anything flew. Today too anything flies – provided you know how to fly it. NZ loses another wicket. Last 5 overs remaining in the match. I eye my fellow foodies. 

White shirt guy is giving equal attention to the TV & T-shirt girl. Sometimes TV gets the better of him. I see her disappointed expression. He asks her to watch – she turns her neck to watch. 

Give me a cola – i tell the staff. 

Why now ?– she asks as the staff leaves.

Food is too dry. 

Order a curry

That would be too much. 

Then the manager walks down to the main door, opens it – people waiting outside. He steals a glance at the match – 3 overs left. He pacifies the waiting set, walks back in. On his way back he smiles & asks the blue sweat-shirt guy if they would have anything else. The guy stares at the manager for one second before shaking his head in a no. The manager signals his staff to get the bill NZ lose another wicket. Two overs remaining. 

I am full – she exclaims. 

Take the rest as parcel. 

You are rather slow today. 

Am waiting for my cola – i lie.

Meanwhile tattooed wrist guy continues conversation in Marathi while his soup grows cold. Sundress girl drinks her soup in silence. On the other table white shirt guy orders more food for T-shirt girl even though she refuses. He insists she see the menu while glueing his eyes back to the telly. it winds down to the second last over.

Don’t you love me? 

The first ball is a six. Between sips of  my cola i hear sundress girl’s question. I didn’t look up – did not need to as they were right before the TV.. He hangs up the call.

Anything else?  

It was the smiling manager. I knew what he was upto – same like the blue sweatshirt guy. Now i knew the intent of his smile. Since we were done eating, we had no choice. Except..

Ask them to parcel the remaining food please – i reply before opening up the menu again. Didn’t have to look but bet his smile disappeared with him.

So embarrassing – she whispers. I look up to her to defend my actions. Then i see her eyes are slanted towards the sun-dress girl. 

I turn to the telly, last over. Possible scores put up-way lower than what could have been. 

First ball – blue sweatshirt guy takes one last look as he heads out – one run. 

Second ball – T-shirt girl sits on chair next to white shirt guy as he enjoys crispy chicken leg. She doesn’t dig in but both enjoy NZ batsman’s next shot – six. 

Third ball – Sundress girl cries on her mobile in English.Tattooed wrist guy drinks soup unconcerned. No run. 

Lets go.

I look up. She had the food parcels in her hand, also paid up while i was spying around. A mis-field by the Aussies results in a four. 

Do you want to  – she smiled as she asked me that. 

Two balls to go. The total would be what it would be give or take a few. Either way we were done. I took the parcel from her, lead the way out.  Next day morning, over tea i read that Aus beat NZ comfortably with wickets & balls to spare. 


Published by appamprawns

soni writes about children and people in controlled spaces, in his quest for appam stew. homi writes in the hope of being able to buy prawns to make patiyo.

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