Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Wimbledon Experience - Part 2

The Wimbledon Experience Part-1 link here

Part - 2

As soon as we settled down in the queue, there was high amount of random banter from the diverse group. The discussion started by a friendly argument about a not so friendly subject - business versus IT. Now 'Thakur' and I are on the business side (often referred to as the arrogant, demanding end users) and the 'Head' and the 'POITR' are on the IT side (often referred to as the lazy, non-delivering coders). 'Thakur' and I suspect that there is a imminent IT non-cooperation movement going on in the office, the head of which was with us in the Wimbledon Queue (hence the name - the 'Head'). Like for example, the other day, a critical production bug was raised by the business at around 5:30 pm, to which his answer was - 'Its past the close of business'. Now, I find it quite funny how IT in our office defines the close of business for the business but needless to say, our request was ignored. Also, in our project we reverse engineer, or rather, are forced to. So the IT develop a new code, then write the design documents and then tell the business to document the requirement accordingly, but I digress.

In all this banter, the husband and the 'Gluten Free' decide to stay at a distance, lest they would get pulled into an ugly battle. As time passes by, different people have different demands. The 'Head' demands a pack of playing cards and the husband obliges him with one due to the meticulous planning done in the morning. I demand a good hot coffee from a van standing in the golf park. The bags open and the 'Head' shows off the midnight trip done to the Tesco store. Barring a few odd food vans parked in the golf course, there are not many food options when you are in the queue, so its a good idea to stock up.

Suddenly, the 'Thakur', who mind you had not even brought a bottle of water, demands chilled beer. The good thing about the queue is once you have the queue card, you can step out for a while, which turned out to be a bad thing for 'Thakur' as he was commissioned to go back to the Sainsbury store near the Southfield station to get some cash accompanied with a variety demand of drinks. Meanwhile, I manage to get a hot mocha that helps me to keep warm as I can see dark clouds gathering up in the sky.

Hot coffee, cool breeze, crisps (oh yeah, I am in Britain and I don't call them chips) and cupcakes - it was a perfect combination for me, but not for 'Gluten Free' who refused to eat it. I personally believe that its absolutely rude to decline if someone offers a double chocolate muffin with chocolate chips, no matter how full you are. All of us had our mouths wide open and eyes rolling rigorously when the 'Gluten Free' did not obey this simple rule of 'muffins and cakes' and made us highly suspicious of whether he was from Mars. 
'Gluten Free' tells us that the polite decline was due to the fact that he only has gluten free food. I sympathise with him on his dietary restrictions but am secretly happy that I can gulp down his share of muffin too. Just then, he adds that this whole gluten free thing is voluntary, meaning he is not really allergic to gluten and all of us become suspicious again, this time we feel he has come from a even far off place, probably Pluto. The group gets a new topic to discuss on why anyone would give up the pure joy of eating gluten filled food and jokes about Gluten Free's food habits about being gluten free will last till the end of the day.

Its time, the gates open and the queue starts moving. The excitement in the ground doubles up. Since we were 'just above the ground capacity', our queue starts and stops intermittently. The stewards know exactly where to take the queue around in an serpentine fashion. When the queue stops moving, we put down our mats and settle down quickly, when it moves, we move barefoot picking up our stuff - the pure joy of walking barefoot on the fresh, green, manicured grass is just beyond words. This goes on for a while and the queue has moved significantly. 'Thakur' is now back in the queue grinning ear to ear with a box of chilled beer cans in his hands.

As like on most London days, the rain gods decide do their job and there is a hustle bustle on the ground. The mats are lifted, the chairs are folded, the umbrellas are opened up and the raincoats are on. 'Gluten Free' takes out his Wimbledon special umbrella and everyone is quite jealous that he has one. Later on we find out that the umbrella was lent to him by his friend few years back which he never managed to return. All of us make a mental note of never to lend him anything.

Just then a police patrol chopper hovers above the golf park. Everyone starts waving to the chopper - now I don't get it, who on earth waves to the police for fun but this is Wimbledon so I dont question and I wave back towards them. The play inside the Wimbledon park has halted and the queue intake has slowed down. Around two and half hours have passed now and we are inside the first gate after a thorough check of our queue cards while the rain and the sun continue to play hide and seek.

Once inside the first gate, there was a similar wait but there were some fun things to do. First of all, we all took a mandatory group photo with a nice Wimbledon gate in the background. There are some small screens put up which were showing some fun interviews with the players. There were plenty of stalls - like one was giving out free drinks, Haagen-Dazs had a fun photo booth where you could take photos and put a centre court background, HSBC has a mini tennis court to pass time. Another one and half hour passes by quickly and we are now hungry.

I have been extremely efficient and packed sandwiches filled with home made green chutney for the chutney. Everyone gulps them down telling me how delicious they are but I am pretty sure that it was a factor of their hunger. 'POITR' takes out the second set of muffins, this time Gluten Free eats them too ! As the queue moves further, we can almost see the finish line.

We have survived the queue and we are there. A small security check now stands in between us and the Wimbledon Park !!

When the rain gods showered some love on us

Dog patrols on the queue

We have passed the first gate !!

So apt for the Wimbledon .. Patience is really rewarded !

Passing some time at the photo booth ...

We are there !! Just need to pass that security check tent !!



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