The fact that I was not a cricket fan changed about a couple of weeks back, during which, somehow, my old love for the game was reincarnated in unexpected colors. I cant really put a finger on any particular match, player, innings or moment which was able to incite the change, but as long as I felt good about it, it didn’t really matter. So after following almost all the matches of India ball-by-ball I feel pretty happy to realize today that once again, after about eight years, we are back into the finals of the worldcup. The scene was all planned up since the last ball of the previous match after the men in blue made sure aussies pack their bags for good.
So as decided, it was a national holiday for us, and many many others, I am pretty sure. The beer stock was replenished and other necessary arrangements made. Its actually amazing to see how much a team of eleven people can move this country. The craze and the hope of seeing the team win is actually a way of life for millions and they will do whatsover to make sure that they do their part in helping their team out – in ANY way possible. Take this incident for instance – group of people sitting in a cafe. One of them switches seats with the friend just to be more comfortable. Sachin gets lbw decision. The whole group blames that action of the person switching the seats to be the cause, without finding anything unreasonable in it. She gets a few looks and a suggestion to switch back. The suggestion is discarded in a jest. Sachin almost gets stumped and the group cant control their anguish. Result – The seats are switched back and for the rest of the innings, no one is allowed move from their places. Weird ? No way. Thats the way it works.
After the match ended, we left the house only to see the streets filled with utterly exultant and avid fans who were celebrating in any way they could – fireworks, hooting, bikers with the national flag, cars with flags coming out of every window, dancing, shouting or just standing in the middle of the road to cheer other who were doing this and building up a decent crowd. I did not see any wars India has fought, but I can assume quite safely that the atmosphere which that win generates is not very different from the one I just saw. And yes, did I mention that all these celebrations were almost everywhere being done at the most busy intersections, flyovers and roundabouts. We also did our part of hooting and cheering and for the next two days, all effort will be put into bringing the throats back to normal for another round of it. I guess this is the part I like about cricket in this nation. No matter what one is, believes, does, follows or thinks – the game unites us all – in victory, in defeat and in criticism.
As for me, I hope now the final will be a balanced and as entertaining an event as today’s one which eventually India will win.
PS: why do i now feel like i must get EXACTLY the same number of beers as i did today 😛