Ishank Jaggi, Delhi: March 17 will always remain as a horrifying day for me. As I am writing this column, I could still sense the scaring moment I faced a few hours back. We were getting ready to leave for the ground. Normally on match days we assemble at the lobby around 7:20am. One of our openers Pratyush Singh posted the news in the team’s whatsapp group around 6:45am. He wrote that there is a fire which broke out downstairs, and alerted the teammates not to come down. We all got scared to see such a message. The manager of the team PN Singh immediately informed us all to wait in our room.
Around 7 am we tried to come out of our room but were frightened to see smoke all-around the place. We hardly could see each other and it was very suffocating. We didn’t know at that moment what to do. Someone from the team shouted that the fire broke out near the lobby, which got us even more frightened. Luckily we found that the lift was working that goes down to the lobby.
Meanwhile, Mahi bhai also joined us in front of the lift. Once we came down the lift to the lobby, we discovered that the fire did not catch in the hotel but in the shopping mall adjacent to it. We were panic stricken as there were rumors all around. It was a bit confusing at that moment as we didn’t knew what to do next.
On reaching the lobby I saw at least 30 engines of fire brigade rushing to the spot. I was amazed to see the calmness on the face of Mahi bhai. He was so relaxed with the situation. He kept on assuring us not to get panicked and that everything will be under control.
It was almost 8 am in the morning and was forced to leave our cricket kits in our room. Our manager requested us not to go back to our rooms. He briefed the BCCI officials about the situation over phone and requested them to postpone the match.
We headed to the Palam ground from the hotel. Mahi bhai decided to go to the Lalit hotel. We met the Bengal players who were practicing then.
I must admit that it was certainly one of those incidents which will stay in my mind for a long time.