Lordy, Lordy! It's Lord's
The distance from Abbey Road to Lord's Cricket Ground wasn't too far; 'just about 2 blocks' as the English would say. We weren't in any tearing hurry, so we took a good half hour to reach the famous ground for the 'Tour of Lord's'.
On the way, we'd spent a few minutes talking to this elderly lady who was out walking her dog. She must have been in her 70s, but what I liked about her was her perpetual smile. I couldn't help but wish her 'Good Morning' and started to chat. She was extremely courteous and the dog too was so well-behaved. As we chatted, he sat on his haunches, waiting for the conversation to end so that they could continue their walk. Not a whimper all that while; no sign of any sort of aggression or ferociousness at the sight of two total strangers.
In fact, it had a rather sad look. She told us this story of how the dog was being ill-treated by its previous masters and how she took possession of the poor thing because she couldn't bear to watch him suffer. That explained the canine's subdued behaviour and sad expression. I instantly fell sorry for the dog and cursed the people who put it through such torture. How can anybody do wretched things to any animal, leave alone a dog?
I spent an extra 5 minutes taking pictures of the roads, the traffic, street cleaners in action and continued to marvel at the Londoners' self-discipline in these matters. Amazing! After all, what does it really take to park a car properly, or to throw waste into garbage bins? Certainly not rocket science. Nor is it about being 'white' or 'brown' or rich-country, poor-country. It's all about common sense; so rare in our part of the world.
I think our problem is our pride. We get an unexplainable thrill by doing things that aren't right. And because we do it with unfailing regularity, we begin to believe that that's the right way. My dictionary says: People without humility and social consciousness are nothing but losers and who wouldn't qualify before that lady or for that matter, even that poor dog.
We entered the ornate gates of Lord's and I was immediately reminded of the 'Little Master' Sunil Gavaskar, who was denied entry for non?possession of proper identification. Now, here's a proud person but then, he has enough cricketing credentials to give him that aura, though that didn't help him gain entry. Incidentally, as one enters the gates there's a plaque, which proudly states that the ground is dedicated to the memory of W.G. Grace, widely recognised as the 'Father of Cricket'.
The security official directed us to the reception, which, as expected was fairly crowded and understandably so; it was a Saturday and many cricket enthusiasts like us were eager to take the tour of Lord's. We purchased our tickets (£8 each) and were politely told to wait since the 'next tour commences at 11.30 am'. We sat out at the bench, took some pictures and got into some polite conversation with the security guard. We wondered if he was the one who denied Gavaskar entry. 'No, that wasn't me,' he said, but he narrated to us the incident as told to him by his colleague, who was the man on the spot that day some years ago.
Hmmm! After hearing that I'm not so sure if I'd like to stick my neck out and vouch for Gavaskar's humility status. However, he seems a nice bloke on TV.
Well, there's so much for so many to lord about at Lord's. Many a cricketing great has fond memories of this 'Mecca of Cricket', as it's so often described. Take Dilip Vengsarkar for example. He has the distinction of being the first to have scored three successive centuries on this ground. And Kapil Dev; would he and his men have ever imagined in their wildest dreams that they'd humble the mighty Windies and win the 1983 World Cup? (Click Here) Of course, Sunil Gavaskar has a long list of achievements at Lord's but certainly wouldn't like to be reminded about his infamous 36 not out in 174 balls, comprising of just 1 boundary, at the first Prudential World Cup match way back in 1975 when India played England at Lord's.
Well, it was time and Mike, our guide for the tour, called out to everyone and after a brief introduction we followed our 'Pied Piper' into the stadium through the corridor, to the pavilion gate. Mona said 'Wow', as did many others. We were awe-struck by the lush green field, the amazing architecture of the stands and straight ahead, the futuristic Media Centre raised 15 metres above ground on two concrete pillars, in an inclining sort of shape leaning towards the ground. Marvelous!
To have seen so many cricket games on Television and now, to be standing at the most celebrated cricket venue in the flesh and blood, was all very, very exciting indeed. This was a perfect photo opportunity and I wasted no time in getting Mona to stand 'over here, now over there and over there', ensuring I captured some of those scintillating backgrounds for posterity's sake.
Next: The Tour of Lords