For a month and a half the nation has been huddled in conversation. You have noticed it. For everywhere from the office canteen, to official meetings to even your own bedroom this topic has made silent entry.
From wickets to balls. From heavy bats to bad bounce. Seam to spin ! Everything of such nature and beyond. The frenzy that accompanies newscasts, has had ready made fodder, for they have been quick to assemble an array of cricketers that once ran between the wickets to now give commentary on the ones that do!
Suddenly one Friday, your team beats Australia. The ensuing Wednesday they beat Pakistan. The following Sunday Sri Lanka is downed. Suddenly, the nation is crowned World Champions.
It’s a moment in cricketing history that must not escape the pages of this blog and hence must be written about.
The last several months have seen several scams. Parliament was held to ransom. A government that seems inept. A parents accused of murdering their own daughter. A overlaying general apathy that seems to have progressed as terminal cancer across the breadth of the population. The list is incomplete, incongruous, progressively more gross. Heaping many permutations of ‘oh-what-will-get-inflicted-on-us-today’ kind of a feeling. Everyday.
This was a divided country. Thick lines of religion interlaced with politics and served with an overarching base ingredient of corruption and moral degradation, over very many years added to continuous woe and misery.
Well, all of the above remain. Infact, nothing has changed. Not the cases that have been filed. The corrupt judges have not had a change of heart. The colourful politicians and their ever so creative means to greater means perhaps has only got new boosts.
Yet, for a few brief hours, the nation suspends its despondence and celebrates. On a sultry Saturday night every square in the country resembles the Tahrir square of Egypt. The nation today erupts in unanimity.
As the composed eyes of the captain scans the stadia to know of the six that is hit indeed clears the ropes, the slum dwellers clap and hoot. The rich pump their scotch drenched viens with little of the refinement that they usually swear by. Hindus hug muslims. Buddhists pump their fists with energy.
Soon, cars, scooters, bikes all pour into the road. Waving the Indian flag and shouting Vande Mataram.
The old reminisce 1983 even as the young don’t care anymore. They have a new story to tell. Men jump as though they have been injected with fresh bouts of testosterone.Women hug and hoot with frenzy that would befit little girls in school. The twitter feed is continuous.
Politicians are going slow in their campaigning. Airplanes have gone empty. Governments declare holidays. SMS messages pour in. “We have won” is the overriding theme, as though the victory is a result of the dint of hard labour of every single Indian.
But then, perhaps. That’s not too far from the truth.
This victory perhaps belongs to the faceless Indian cricket fan. Yes, the one that stands in queue to endure lathis and collect just one of the measly 4000 tickets on sale. The faceless fan that will wear the same T-shirt just so that we win !
Oh don’t forget those Non Resident Indians who beat the time zones and zone into You Tube, Facebook, twitter and whatever they could get shreds of information from ! And the abundance of others that borrow money to travel and cheer the team ! The fan puts all else, far below the pecking order that has only one entity up there : The Indian cricket team !
Today a billion people watched. For a moment the despondence disappears. People hug each other and laugh their hearts out. The tireless efforts to divide us all usually succeeds. This time there is some respite ! Our problems awaits us. The cases. The politicians. The judges. The corrupt and the corrupted. The vain and the vanity prone.
Yes. But that’s tomorrow. For today, we have won. We are world champions. As the fledgling hands of my almost four year old nephew struggling to hold a plastic bat, shows the strain, a loud screech escapes his lips : ‘I have never seen such a match in my life”. All of almost four years. Mind it !
Standing as tall as the TV stand, just as his dad claps and his mom hoots. Tomorrow, reality will drift back into our consciousness. But today, we are world champions.
Yes we are.