Wankhede crowd high on Sachin!
Rediff.com's Gauri Ghadi spoke with enthusiastic fans just before the iconic Sachin Tendulkar stepped out to bat on Day 2 of the second Test against the West Indies.
Mumbai’s Marine Drive, which is usually packed with morning walkers, was abuzz with an energy of different sorts on Friday morning!
Faces painted and waving the India flag, people queued up outside the Wankhede stadium since as early as 7 am to watch the biggest event in India's recent history -- the one and only Sachin Tendulkar bat!
And they all had one complaint: they couldn't sleep a wink last night.
Sachin, who left the field unbeaten on 38, on Thursday, had left them desperate for more.
Ishita Dave, 21, a film student told rediff.com, "I had a nervous breakdown the minute Sachin came on to the field. I could not sleep at all. I had to watch him play and I got here as early as I could."
Sporting a t-shirt, which read, Hum Sachin ki taraf se hai, she and her friends were chanting 'Sachin, Sachin', as they waited to enter the stadium.
Twelve-year-old Nimit Shah said he has been watching Tendulkar play ever since he can remember.
"I am anxious. I can't wait to see Sachin."
So what was he expecting from the 'Master Blaster'?
"At least a half-century," he said, leaving the crowd behind him screaming. "No, no, we want a century from Sachin!"
Sixty-year-old Shivaji Bachke and his wife soaked in all the hungama with baby-like excitement on their faces.
"This is the first time I have come to watch a live game. I was up all night in anticipation. If I could not sleep, I wonder how Sachin can!
" I hope he makes a century. 100 is great, but 101 centuries are auspicious," he said.
"To watch Sachin on the field for the first time is like a dream come true", added his wife, Nandini.
An even crazier crowd was inside the stadium. They all seemed high; high on Sachin!
Many from the Sachin-crazy clan reached the stadium at 7 am. They said they did not want to miss even a glimpse of him.
And no prizes for guessing what happened when Tendulkar came to the field to practice.
They roared, they jumped and they whistled.
Said Karan Maheshwari, a 30-year-old entrepreneur, "I am expecting at least a 100 from Sachin, and if not that, a few hits in this one direction."
His wife interrupted and proudly quiped, "Karan always says, 'There is no man that has united India since Mahatma Gandhi.'
Photographs: Reuben NV