Its two days since World Cup has ended – the hangover still looms large – an ecstatic feeling within, predominantly influencing any action or inaction – sitting idle in front of television set and watching extracts of Sachin or Yuvi’s interview again and again and Shahid Afridi’s suicidal interview pops up now and then as a distraction. Will choose to ignore that. It is too small a distraction in front of this tsunami of happiness that Indian team and India as a nation given to us. Joy of winning would not have been so sweet if Mango People – Aam Aadmi, or “We the People” as Barkha would have put it, had expressed our feelings in such grandeur, euphoric manner. “Iss Raat Ki Subaah Nahi” was the wish of the million Indians, that night. It was one lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng partyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!! And the experience of it, is something that can’t just be put in any paper or frame.
And it all started one and half month back on 19th Feb, 2011. Looking back, it was like living a life within a life….Come to think of it, it was like any perfect bollywood screen play, scripted with excitement, thriller, passion and romance, with backdrop of a love story – love of Indians with Cricket, love of fans with Men In Blue….love between team members of Men In Blue, and last but not the least undying wait & love of our demi-god Sachin, for the World Cup for 22 years. Just like reel-life hero SRK had to wait for her Zaara, in an YRF flick, for 22 years. It was cinematic, only this time God Almighty scripted it perfectly, for its favorite nation India and his favorite child Sachin.
People may contest why Indians regard Sachin as God .God lives inside each of us. When a Zaheer, Yuvi, Raina, Kohli dedicated the win to Sachin, it was evident that Sachin was an integral part of each of their soul, and their cricket. He lives in each of them, he lives in each of us, and he is the constant reason for our smile in as many years as I can remember that has passed by. Sachin will always be my first love but my hero for the World Cup is MSD – totally bowled over by his out of this world display of human behavior. He showed us that we don’t need to be the star in each scene of our lives to become a hero – Bow to your humbleness, dignity, generosity. Bow to your courage, your ferocity, with which you lead us from the front, drive out Murali and gifted us this victory. The night when we lose to South Africa, my buddy Praveen commented on my update on Face book, that “Don’t worry Mahi will win the cup for you” – He did it for me and all of us. That’s the way, Mahi way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And as sweet-heart Ants put it “We will be telling these stories for years to come. Of how Sehwag broke our hearts and how hope died with Sachin's wicket. Of how Gambhir and Kohli fought back together. Of how Dhoni showed us what a spine of steel looks like and how the Cup looked in Sachin's hands”. In fact, every match had a story to tell - story of fight-back of a warrior called Yuvi in this world cup and how he won the Australia match for us, story of unsung hero Zaheer Khan and his resilience to bring India back in the match whenever India lost its way, story of a Raina and Kohli, who made their presence felt when it mattered. Each story inspired us and stirred us souls. Just like Preity’s bangles did. Another silent soul touched our heart – No amount of thanks is enough for you Gary!!!
But the journey could not have been complete without the win and the experience of night that followed – It was magical, freaking awesome!!!! As Ants best puts it, “Of how we laughed and cried and danced and sang together on the streets with misty-eyed strangers”. Seeing was believing. I didn’t see individuals, I saw Young India – who cared two hoots about caste, creed, religion, and the forbidden baggages which should have been shunned long back and greeted each other. Jaddu ki Jhappi and High fives were the order of the day. I was not born when India got its Independence – For me 2nd April, was my Independence day – Indian Flag fluttering all over the place, it made us independent from cynicism. Words like joy and happiness got a new meaning that night – as people danced their way down the streets – be it Sonia Gandhi or an Amitabh Bacchan or a me & you – all of us celebrated like frenzy as if there is no tomorrow. Stars in the sky could have fallen asleep, not us – some high dose of ecstasy was injected in our body that night.
Personally the journey was fascinating for me – and indeed a special for me for number of reasons. Of course, for Men in Blue – who bled blue to make us win. For all my friends in Facebook & Twitter, who kept me updated and motivated me with all their comments, on & off-field stories. Especially to Praveen, who told Mahi will win it for me or Ants, Tanu who kept updating cricket from my two other fav place in the world – Kol & Delhi. For my room mate Sandeep, who updated me with scores regularly when I was slogging at my office. And of course his infectious passion for the freaking Cricket League online game which was going as a parallel competition to the World Cup. For the special people of my life – Shilpee, my bro Rhibhu for bringing in positivity each time, when I was nervous during the game. Or for that matter the sunshine elements of my life- Sonia & Tj – with whom I celebrated over phone each time we won :-)