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Today, the city will come to a halt

Megha Basavaraj

Catching the spirit, workplaces and even colleges erect giant screens for the clash of the titans

— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

There's no escaping it: True-blue cricket fans will, by hook or by crook, ensure they catch the action live on TV.

BANGALORE: India-Pakistan ODIs have always been a war of sorts. Now, with the two neighbouring countries set to lock horns — or swing bats at, let's say — each other on Wednesday, true-blue cricket fans will, by hook or by crook, ensure they catch the adrenalin-pumping action live on TV.

Students will, needless to say, bunk classes. For what's a lecture or two compared to the clash of the titans that shakes the pitch once in four years.

But, if you're a working professional with a boss whose passion is football, Nintendo or profits, things get a bit complicated. The usual line about flu or the collywobbles won't work. In certain sectors of the old economy, the more privileged staff have booked their half-day leave weeks ahead.

TV or the Net

Employees in some IT offices have rescheduled their working hours, and the less fortunate ones, whose timings are tied to office hours overseas, have to make do with taking tantalising breathers to catch it all on the office TV or monitoring the scores on the Net.

Vishwas Kamath of MindTree managed to get half a day's leave sanctioned well ahead. “There is nothing bigger than the Indo-Pak clash,” he gushed.

But Rohan R., a software testing professional with another IT major, glumly spoke of a mail from the boss sent last week banning anyone from taking leave this week.

Carnival

However, sensitive to their employees' spirits, several firms have promised to make arrangements on campus, Infosys and Siemens included. At Infosys, the management decided to make a carnival out of the event, and will provide employees with drums, dhols and other spectator accessories, to create the ambience of watching it at the stadium. Abhishek K.R, a software engineer there, is excited. “The atmosphere will be charged like that in the stadium.”

This has been routine at Siemens, which made arrangements every time India played this World Cup. Said Meghana Ravi: “All the employees leave their professional masks behind and become true cricket fans. They whistle and hoot on every strike.”

Sporting colleges

While many colleges have issued strict instructions to students to not miss classes, a few are actually making arrangements for group viewing.

Baldwin Methodist College declared a half day holiday and the students will be sporting masks of Indian players and will be dressed in blue. A giant screen will be set up in the college seminar hall for students who wish to watch the match with their friends, said Joshua Samuels, principal of Baldwin Methodist College.

Bangalore Institute of Technology (BIT) is having its techno-cultural fest, Mannat, starting on March 30. A big screen will be put up on the campus for students and invitees to catch the match. Says student Vinay Prakash: “I will be rooting for my college as well as for India along with my friends.”

Discount on menu

Bars and restaurants across the city such as Tiffany's, H2O lounge bar, Shilton Royale and so on are offering discounts on their menu to attract customers during the match. An innovative Cricket World Cup menu with dishes like India ki Googly, Aussie Chicken, Pakistani Pind Ke Chole and Irish Macaroni Pasta designed by executive chef Yagya and his team at Keys Hotel Bangalore.

The residents of ISRO apartments in Vijayanagar are putting up a screen in their parking lot. Sanjay Raju, who lives there, said he cannot afford to miss the historic match.

Many businessmen are shutting shop all together to catch the match too. Sachin M.R, a land developer, plans to go to a party hosted by his friend at a farmhouse to watch the match. “I'm steering clear of all meetings in the evening,” he said.

As for the tiny minority unmoved by all the hoopla, a representative spoke up for it. “I intend to go shopping and just drive around to enjoy the free streets once again,” said Bharathi M., who said she was fed up of “driving constantly on third gear when I should mostly go fifth.”

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