Monday, April 04, 2011

The day we stood on the brink of history

Has it sunk in yet for you? I realise this is how most posts about the win have been beginning, but really, has it?

My twitter timeline, GReader Shared items, FB new feed - they're all full of one thing since the last 48 hours. Conversations at office all of today were all about who was doing what at the moment it happened.

So allow me to recap for you a bit, the events that unfolded on 2nd April, 2011.

1.40 PM: I switch on my TV to see there is no signal. All I can see is a silver haze.
1.45 PM: I call up DLF Cable and scream at them, and meanwhile find a decent streaming link online to try and catch the toss. Halfway through my screaming, I stop to stare at my laptop. A re-toss? What just happened?!? Get off the phone and get onto twitter!!! What are people saying?!?
2.10 PM: Two guys from DLF Cable show up and fix the signal. Hallelujah.
2.29 PM: Zaheer Khan is getting ready to open bowling. Memories of 23rd March 2003 rush back. Please Lord, no. Don't let this happen again.
2.32 PM: Zaheer Khan is the most awesome man in the history of mankind. And bowling.
4.30 PM: This is going well. Nice and easy, people, nice and easy.
5.20 PM: POWER CUT. AND the internet died on me. We decide to go to the club and watch on the big screens they've put up. Family and friend disperse to get ready. I wait, because I'm not changing - lucky yellow T-shirt has been worn.
5.55 PM: Friend reappears, wearing her brand new Team India T-shirt. Identical to the one I had bought. And wore for the first time in the India-SA match. And decided not to wear again for the rest of the World Cup, especially once the yellow t-shirt proved to be lucky in the India-WI match. The India T-shirt was put in the same category as Sreesanth; we could've given it another chance if there were any league matches left, but we're not going to risk it once we're in the knock-out stages. Not that I am judging any decisions any captain may have taken.
Back to my story. I glared at said friend, and informed her who would be blamed should we lose.
6.40 PM: Reached club in time for innings break. Not watching the the end of the Lankan innings in my yellow T-short proved to be catastrophic. Sri Lanka had slammed in the last ten overs, and set a target of 275. Doable? Yes. Would we do it? I have no freaking idea.
7.15 PM: Sehwag out. For a duck. SHIT.
8.15 PM: The lightning that was creeping closer over the past half hour, was now directly overhead. Faint thunder could be heard, occasional drizzle felt.
8.40 PM: The sky burst open. Open air screening comes to an end. WHY DOESN'T ANYONE WANT TO LET ME SEE THIS MATCH?
9.00 PM: Back home. Power's back, match is on. Whew. Online too. Thank heavens. What is a match with no twitter?
10.15 PM: We're inching towards this. We're beginning to realise we're almost there, as evidenced by this tweet. My friend, who hadn't uncrossed her fingers since we got home, looked at me in amazement - this was the first time I had been calm about a cricket match, especially one of this importance. There was a certainty that had come over me once the match started, and nothing could shake it off.
10.32 PM: WORLD CHAMPIONS. TAKE THAT, EVERY OTHER COUNTRY. And so began a state of incoherence which involve me basically screaming out periodically, smiling like a goofball, and tweeting in caps lock for the next five hours.

My approach to this World Cup, back in February, was very simple. Just get to the Quarter-finals, uske baad dekhenge kya hota hai. I was, however, praying right from 19th February that we wouldn't have to play the first QF, scheduled for 23rd March.

When it turned out we would take on Australia in the QF, I was very pessimistic. Yeah, yeah, you don't become world champions by avoiding teams, but just this one maybe?

I think I began to believe we could do this the day we beat Australia. Our league matches had been patchy, to be honest. We hadn't beaten SA, and barely managed to avoid losing some of the other matches. But when it counted, in the knock-out matches, this team really did come together.

The father always says that 1983 was our year not for any individual, but because every single person in that team played a key role. 2011 was no different. Yuvraj hit back at all his detractors, including yours truly, to have a dream run with the bat during the league matches all the way to the QF, and continuing to field and bowl through the knock-outs. Zaheer was brilliant all through, and Harbhajan took his wickets as and when. Nehra brought on the wrath of an entire nation with just one over against South Africa, and then redeemed himself against Pakistan. Raina and Ashwin came in in the QF and SF and blew away the opposition. Gambhir and Dhoni both had a very low-scoring tournament, but then came good in the final, and how!

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. I will admit, my superstitions extended to correlating this man's centuries with India's losses. But this man still played such a big part in our win this World Cup. As he has in our country's fortunes in cricket for two decades. Virat Kohli, whatever his future achievements may be, and Im sure there will be plenty, has written himself into history simply by virtue of his tribute to Tendulkar.

And then the moment came, when those 5 runs were need, and an entire nation thought to itself, hit a six and get there. The father never watches matches; he thinks we lose when he does. So he was listening to the radio commentary in the next room, while we watched. He's keep coming in to tell us what's happening because radio commentary is about 5 seconds faster than TV broadcasts. And then the moment came. He ran into the room, I could faintly hear someone screaming on the radio. And Dhoni hit the ball. And I screamed like I have never screamed in my life.

What does one say that hasn't been said already? Brilliant posts have been put up aleady by @sidvee, @greatbong, @cornerd, @daddy_san, and a host of others. The sheer joy a billion people have been feeling since Saturday night, the smiles that won't go away from our faces - it's hard to put these feelings into words.

As the generation that grew up watching Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Laxman, and even Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad if I go further back, it was hard to keep away the wistfulness and the wish that they had got this too. As a Ganguly loyalist, the thought also kept coming that he and John Wright probably deserved so much of the credit for making Team India what it is today. But then when you saw the smile on Sachin's face as he ran onto the field, you knew that it was worth everything just to see this man hold that trophy.


Runjoo said...

I think its awesome that every single person watching the match on 2nd april has their own set of memories, their own set of's like a collective experience which a huge number of people have gone through.

awesome post :)

Anonymous said...

My blog is gonna be coming up soon too... just havent got time to jot down...
But this, is very well written :)Indeed this has been the World Cup Win brought home by a 'team' and not by individuals!

antiglam superstar! said...

This is lovely! The 2003 world cup screwed up my boards, particularly the India-SL match right before chemistry and I had to spend years in a remote village. I've had trouble rehabilitating back to city life and fall for much younger college boys. So they won this for me! :P

Thank you for wearing the lucky yellow T-shirt!