Melbourne, approaching the traditional Boxing Day Match at the MCG is a city in a state of flux.
In the build-up to the Christmas-New Year break during which most businesses are either shut or on skeleton staff, the last working days are a hive of shopping, last minute work deadlines, end-of-year social events, some more shopping, sleep deprivation and some final midnight shopping to be sure.
Christmas day itself, we are told, is a multi-pronged climax of church, cooking, relatives, heat, lunch, alcohol to excess, family feuds, a siesta if lucky, and a stupefied collapse into bed.
It is thus that the relatively tranquil Boxing Day is looked forward to by everyone.
For those who inquire of the etymology of Boxing Day, I am reliably informed it has to do with the unboxing of 55” flat screens and other embodiments of a consumerist culture picked up at the much-awaited Boxing Day sales, which in these days of economic turmoil have begun well before Christmas.
Where was I? Ah, yes, the looking forward to of Boxing Day. After the fraught build-up, it is but natural and traditional that the menfolk and their sons decamp to the calm and tranquil oasis of cricket with Christmas leftovers and the womenfolk escape to the calm and tranquil oasis of…..shopping!
Yes, I know, go figure..
Back to matters comprehensible, Irrespective of who’s playing, the Boxing Day audience at the MCG will always call into question the wild declamations of those who pronounce interest in Test Cricket to be dead.
Perhaps the frisson of excitement caused by two teams, both strong and vulnerable in equal measure, has contributed to a near sell out first day.
The weather promises to be good, and apparently the Indian quicks bowled at near full tilt in the MCG outdoor nets, which incidentally look terribly green. Is this a portent of what the actual wicket will be like? An uncharacteristic green-top?
Just one more sleep until we lumber up the MCG steps clad in green kurta, saffron shawl and white Anna Hazare topi, clutching our tricolour while our bags bulge with puri-masaal, tayir-saadam-oorugai and flasks of filter coffee, all the better to lustily bellow ‘Viru sixer maaro’ to the tune of ‘We will, we will rock you’.