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It happens to the best of us. It drives you nuts. You sip your morning coffee and bite the frozen pizza, turn on streams from questionable websites, and suddenly the computer gets overloaded with window after window as cellular multiplication renders the system useless. Yes, it happened to me. That too, in the much-awaited inaugural game of the 2011 World Cup between Bangladesh and India where I missed out my favorite player - Virender Sehwag - blowing the brains out of bowlers of my favorite team -Bangladesh - with his epic 175. But, that wasn't the first time. There were many other occasions where I was a step away from putting my neck on rail-tracks, just for a fix of my team in action.
No. 10 - Signal loss, computer crash
As the computer gets overloaded with multiple windows, I start panicking. The irritable buffer syndrome was tolerable; but a complete shutdown of system? I figured it would take 20 minutes for a full system recovery. I would lose 20 minutes of the match, but it would be still worth it.
Alas! After 20 minutes of excruciating wait, it seemed that I made an error in setting up the LAN connection. Encore! I automatically hit the 'Power' button, F10, F10, F10 and the familiar subroutine of system recovery began for a the second time.
So 40 minutes into the game, I have not gotten a single, uninterrupted feed. What's in store next? Codec doesn't work. Besides, I would badly need an anti-virus shield to further prevent breakdown. At any rate, I was in a catch-22 situation, for to get codec I must have anti-virus software, but due to Safe Mode, I cannot install many components. I panicked. I stormed out of my house, waited fifteen minutes for bus with additional twenty minutes en route to finally reach the public library for a stream. And all these times, I was swearing at myself for not test driving the online video links beforehand. But it was an unfortunate day. I logged on and then I realized that the library does not supply headphones. Luckily a family friend of ours lived nearby. Huffing and puffing when I finally reached their house, it would take another patient fifteen minutes before the door would be opened, as the elder daughter mistakenly would mistake my heavy pounding on the door for the work of a miscreant.
No. 9 - The violin match
Inspired by the late Sherlock Holmes, I always wanted to learn violin. I loved the classical electrical fusion of the instrument. And my father was anxiously looking to find me a hobby as a form of music therapy for depression. So obviously I did not want to miss the class. But my mind cut the Gordian knot that is the ubiquitous Dhaka gridlock before coming home to learn Bangladesh had defeated Zimbabwe by one wicket to win the series 3-1. I also learned that Dr. Muhammad Yunus was awarded Nobel Prize. Two good news in one day!
No. 8 - The wedding problem
Do I go to a wedding or witness a live online feed of Mohammad Ashraful scoring a big hundred on his Test comeback? I could stay at home but I had to take my mother, and as everyone knows, mom 'cannot drive freeways'. As the venue was about 17 miles away I was the chosen victim. So with iPad in hand we drove down to Haveli's Indian Cuisine. They had some Indian songs on TV, and no wifi. Thus I had to resort to annoying my friend for his cellphone every five minutes to casually see Ashraful off across the milestone bridge.
No. 7 - The insult
After a quarrel with my mom, I had gone to my cousin sister's house for refuge. As luck would have it, she had an invitation to someone's place for a party, and I had to tag along as an uninvited guest. To make matters worse, I was promptly relegated to the kids' room, while the adults clinked champagne glasses (or was it sherbet?), and partook in grapes and kebab. And there I was, a Bangladesh cricket expert fan, being tickled and teased, and forced to borrow a kid's laptop to log in for the live feed, as the cell phone fee was piling up already. And that was when Tamim Iqbal was tearing England apart with a ferocious innings, and threatening to get to 100 in a session. Tamim would become the quickest Bangladesh player to pass 1000 Test runs, reaching his half-century from 53 balls, but he slowed down thereafter.
No. 6 - In transit
This time it was by sheer chance that I was forced to miss the match. Flying from Bangladesh, transiting at Singapore and Japan, I had to keep tabs on cricket through whatever means were available. As I logged onto Banglacricket.com, the very refreshing banner titled "Bangladesh in British Isles 2010 - First win against England" brightened up my moment. Bangladesh had won a nail-biter by five runs. I had no need to wield the cumbersome, squeaky mouse anymore, to browse at a snail's pace while paying a premium. I had got what I wanted and logged off like a boss.
No. 5 - Train ride from Sylhet to Dhaka
During one of Tamim's masterclasses on that 2010 trip to England, I had the pleasurable misfortune of experiencing Sylhet's rapturous beauty. Only problem - no electricity, leave alone internet. And when the cell phone did manage to pick up signal it was outside the periphery. I eventually returned to Dhaka courtesy a scenic train ride, with my cousin Ananta giving me text updates. His promptness made the train ride a lot more enjoyable than it would have otherwise been.
No. 4 - Load-shedding
Aftab Ahmed was on fire as Bangladesh chased 309. End of over 19 (6 runs), Bangladesh 110/1 (199 runs required from 31 overs, RR: 5.78, RRR: 6.41. And then it happened - the inevitable load-shedding. We decided to head back home from my aunt's house to our residence in Banani where we were hoping that the electricity would thrive. By the time we got home and turned on the TV, Bangladesh had proceeded to reach a rotten position. They would go on to lose by 23 runs against Pakistan.
No. 3 - Dilemma, dilemma...
It was day I became a US citizen. My loving mother planned a Chinese dinner outing to celebrate. It was also the day Bangladesh were playing Australia in Darwin. I could not possibly say no to my mom. While we gorged on the food, I was a little disappointed that I couldn't fully enjoy the moment. We skipped dessert and headed home only to see Bangladesh in a familiar position of collapse.
No. 2 - Asia Cup slip
Who can forget Shahadat Hossain bowling a messy spell, and then arriving at the crease to face the last ball, and not being able to get the winning boundary? I barely got a sliver of the screening of the Asia Cup final as I had an important epistemology class to attend. I was way behind the minimum attendance requirement, so there was no question of missing this session. Later, I patiently stood in the queue to enter the computer lab. This time I even had headphones. Alas, there was no glory.
No. 1 The genesis
Back to where it all began. Here I was, a Bangladeshi in South Africa, supporting my team against Kenya in the 1997 ICC World Cup qualifier final via Voice of America and British Broadcasting Corporation radio stations, relaying only bits and pieces of the match report from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. It was all worth it when the first piece of good news around Bangladesh cricket was relayed to me - they'd won the rain-curtailed last-ball thriller. This was the beginning. My dad would proudly proclaim to his teenager son: "A dangerous team is coming to world cricket. That team is Bangladesh."
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