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Covering cricket in the state of the Mahatma (29th October 1999, Ahmedabad)

After leaving for the ground at what we thought was a good time, we discovered that it can take a very long time to travel the 20km from Ahmedabad to Motera where the Test match is being played. Having reached the ground just before the start of play we found our seats in the blazing hot sun. After several negotiations with a gentleman from the Telecom office we discovered to our delight that it would take at least 15 minutes to move our telephone line five feet to our row. Having got that organised we breathed a sigh of relief. Too early. Our troubles were just about to begin...

We battled, literally battled for over five hours, trying to get an Internet connection. We dialed all the possible numbers and used all permutations of logins and passwords. Absolutely no response. We called the local help desks and once again were greeted by telephones ringing endlessly.

On the field the Indians were having a field day against the Kiwis. Ramesh and Tendulkar slammed hundreds against a hapless bowling attack on a wicket that offered no assistance to the bowlers.

Meanwhile, the time for lunch came and went and there seemed to be nothing coming our way. Most other journos were chomping away merrily on food from a little white plastic box that was distributed to all and sundry. The story goes that they ran out of food just as they reached our row - which happened to be the last row. After profuse apologies we were brought our lunch just before tea time! Duane's culinary preferences forced him to take a couple of nibbles at the lunch and leave the rest for later. That later of course never happened.

After the day's play was finished and the usual running around for interviews was done we attempted to leave the ground. Getting away from it proved to be a much harder task than getting there in the first place. We came out of the stadium complex at around 8 pm and found that there was no manner of public transport at hand to take us the 20 kilometres that we needed to go. After waiting for nearly an hour we hooked up with another journalist in the same plight and managed to find an auto rickshaw to head back together. The three of us squeezed in and took off. About half way through the journey the driver of our chariot got into serious competition with another auto rickshaw driver and began to weave in and out of traffic in an attempt. This was a sure case of being in a Virtual real reality video game with just one life. Our fellow traveler let out more than one shriek during that eventful drive back.

Back at the hotel there was barely enough time to shower, eat dinner, recount the events of the day and hit the sack.