IPL mania in Covid times: No office cheers, juggling meetings and matches

“I remember I was in office last year during the Indian Premier League (IPL), and everyone used to be glued to the screen in the middle of work. I’m kind of glad that way that this year I’m home and don’t have to face all the screams on sixes happening right on top of my head! I mean, I like cricket, but the hullabaloo in an office set-up would ruin the charm of both – watching the match and working peacefully,” says Mehendi Agarwal, a resident of Rajendra Nagar, Delhi. Her thoughts are potent enough to take any professional back to the pre-pandemic era when this is how cricket matches were watched at work.

Amid the Covid-19 situation, IPL has moved its base abroad and cricket fans back home are terribly missing going to the stadiums. But the bigger question is: How to keep up with the game while at #WFH? Bhoomik Sharma, a Gurugrammer, who has grown up idolising cricketers, says, “I used to save money so that I could go and see my favourite players live on the ground. But now, even watching them at home is a struggle since there is little relief from work and meetings that last all day. I do what most of my friends do – put myself on mute and watch the match on a separate screen. If the boss asks then I quickly say ‘It’s a network issue’! Itna bahut toh chalta hai, it’s love for cricket at the end of the day.”

Since going out is still not a viable option for many, some residents have made peace with the fact that they have to make do with their humble TV screens. “But that’s also a task, since my mother is also home. Every day there’s a fight for the TV remote since she wants to hog the screen with her saas-bahu shows,” says Divanshu Ubriani, a Dwarka resident, adding, “I’m mostly watching IPL on the phone or laptop this year, and it’s certainly not as much fun as it used to be! I hope my society RWA agrees to my plea of installing a bigger screen in the vicinity. At least I can then look outside my window and watch the match. I’m sure everyone who’s home would’ve the same complaint.”

Many who used to head to pubs in Delhi-NCR, which organised live screenings of cricket matches for fans to get together, are missing the party scene. Take for instance Siddhant Khajuria, a cricket aficionado who resides in East of Kailash, who says, “What I miss the most is watching these matches live with my friends, as we had beer together. It’s been months since I last met them! It’s just another thing to bond with friends over cricket matches. This year we are watching the matches online using a community feature where we can also chat while watching. But, that’s all that we can really do in these times of social distancing!”

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