In the past decade or so I had lost that passion for Cricket. Though statistically I read a lot and love to discuss cricket at social gathering it never entered into the intimate corners of my heart. I clearly remember those days of waking up early during India-Australia cricket series in early 90s to watch ball-by-ball updates, and then there was this particular world cup match where India lost to Australia and Pakistan own the world cup ultimately.
Then there was this sad dismissal of India world cup semifinal against Sri Lanka in 1996 at Kolkatta. Those were the days of passion. But then it eroded gradually with the infamous match fixing scandal in late 90s and early part of this decade. Sourav Ganguly with his attitude and aggression revived the passion amongst many Indians including me. Premier League and 20-20 brought the love back for cricket but the as a form of entertainment.
In the past decade as a human being my perspective towards life has also changed significantly which means cricket was losing its priority in life.
The only man who has kept cricket alive for this 1.2 billion strong nation for the past two decades is Sachin Tendulkar, who is getting widely known as the God of Cricket.
This world cup offered a different side of India. The day India beat Pakistan or Australia or for that matter even West Indies, it was mostly a psychological win. We have survived almost every match but ultimately have won.
Largely because we always played till the end and as they say you have to be in the game to win it.
This time cricket touched the corners of my heart. It has shook me. It has given me goose bumps. It has made me feel like a fanatic of cricket. I have discovered how easily we melt as a nation of cricket lovers. We understand each others' needs of knowing the score, watching the cricket match, or celebrating after each win.
I live in Mumbai, which is a multi-cultured metropolis, but at heart people are loyal only to two things —-their profession and the sub-urban train lines -– they travel in.
But every night India won. The city had a commonality. East or west side of the sub-urban train line, it didn’t matter. Mumbaiah or Jaunpuria it didn’t matter. Investment banker or panwalla it didn’t matter. Hindi or Marathi, the language didn’t matter. Muslim or Hindu, the religion didn't matter. Cricket is the only religion and it does matter. We are better as a nation of cricket fanatics. Because as cricket fanatics we understand each other. We have only one Team India to pray for, we have only colour (blue) to be loyal with. And we have only one prayer – Indiaaah…Indiaaah – to recite.
Note: While the whole Indian win is shadowed by 20-year old Poonam Pandey's going nude challenge. Though it opened the average lecherous Indian man to think of a nude woman and talk loosely about her, we must admit her patriotism and her ability to unite many for the sake of the country. But I wish she doesn't actually go nude and make the World Cup victory a shallow event. God bless her and she deserves more dignity than being just remembered as a stripper.
(Photo Courtesy: Poonam Pandey in Cricket gears by Vasant Sawant, Sachin Tendulkar as a child)
Trivia: The author of this post has grown a moustache after India's win against Pakistan to meet a prior commitment.