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Bumping Into Adam Gilchrist

31/07/2015 7:00 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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It was late in the afternoon on a Friday. The lounge at Adelaide airport was abuzz with people like me, racing to get home for the weekend. However, my flight home had been delayed by an hour. So I got myself a sandwich and sat in the lounge browsing through a magazine.

There were people seated all around me, some working away furiously on their computers, a few twiddling through their smartphones, and others just chatting amongst each other.

It was all pretty uneventful. Until, I looked up to re-check the status of my flight on the TV screen in front of me. The flight status still read "delayed". So I rapidly proceeded to get back to reading the magazine in my hands.

As my eyes manoeuvred themselves back to the magazine, I registered a vaguely familiar face opposite me. So, I looked up again. This time with a jerk. Adam Gilchrist was positioned in the chair opposite me. I gently rubbed my eyes, and double checked. Yup. Still there. Still him. "The" Adam Gilchrist was in the seat opposite me.

I think I dropped the magazine I was reading. And perhaps the sandwich too. Stunned, I searched within myself for a reaction befitting that moment. Scream out to the rest of the lounge? Take out my phone and start clicking away? Go hug "Gilly" the man himself? I explored all these options.

The great man was busy working his way through a quick meal. It would have been impolite of me to bother him. So I just leaned back in my seat and marvelled at the fact that Adam Gilchrist was sitting at an arm's length from me. A non-event for the superstar, but the event of a lifetime for me. And perhaps for many others sitting in that lounge that day.

I wriggled around in my seat. Ducking, weaving, tying and untying shoe laces, all in a hope to catch his eye. He didn't look up. Not even for a moment. He must have been well aware of the numerous eyes fixated on him in that lounge. There were these faint murmurs and gentle whispers across the place, all discussing his presence.

Amidst all this frenzy, Gilly managed to finish his meal. Then, in trademark Gilly style, he got up and walked. And normalcy returned within that lounge.

All this unfolded in 10 minutes. Maybe less. And as I sat there waiting for my flight, I revisited those last 10 minutes. They felt surreal. They still do, as I write these lines, almost four weeks on. Ten minutes of yet another ordinary day for Gilly - uneventful despite the intrusive eyes. Yet, 10 minutes of my life that will always stay with me.

And just like Adam Gilchrist often did on the cricketing field with his sheer presence, he lent a bit of extraordinary to a cricketing fan's ordinary day.

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