India won the Cricket World Cup last night and what followed that on the streets of Mumbai and rest of the country was just amazing.
People of all strata just poured onto the roads. On bikes, cars, auto rickshaws, trucks, waving flags, shouting, dancing, cheering, high fiving!!! People were stopping cars and congratulating strangers, young boys and girls were popping out of cars, people were sitting in car trunks with tailgates open and car stereos blaring at full volume!!!
It was euphoric! It was unprecedented. In my life of 29 years, I have never seen anything like this. It was something different!
I have never seen so many Indian flags on roads. It was middle of the night and no one was sleeping. There was a traffic jam on all roads and no one was minding. There were no quarrels, no fights, just pure jubilation!!!
Nothing unites this country as cricket does. The sense of Indianness, the sense of patriotism was in the air. Young people of India were chanting Jai Ho, Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai and it wasn’t a political rally! It was the Gen X at its best! People were drinking beer, waving flags, whistling, shouting and there were no inhibitions!
I feel this is advent of a new India. We Indians have never been so confident. The celebrations last night were not just for winning a sport, it was a celebration for something much more.
It was an announcement by the India of today that we have arrived! The way team India won the world cup, it was a show of sheer determination. It was the will to fight against all odds. A strong resolve to prove all nay sayers wrong. Team India lead by the charismatic Mahendra Singh Dhoni was out to prove a point. They wanted to win it. Every individual of the team wanted it so badly that they just gave it their all. Everyone wanted to do it for the team, the nation and ONE man that the nation loves – Sachin Tendulkar. This one man has been playing for the country for past 21 years, he has played in the six world cups and achieved almost every glory except the one that matters the most. The young Indian team was determined to do it for Sachin. AND DONE IT THEY HAVE!!!
The young members of the team showed yesterday that they are confidant of their abilities to win against all odds. After loosing the two match winning openers at the start of the game while chasing a huge total in a high pressure game, no one would have given team India a chance. Me including. But the young lads Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir rose to the occasion and showed the nation and the world that they CAN win! The captain of the ship, came on the ground and played the best innings of his cricketing history. He demonstrated to all those questioning his ability and his decisions on the field that he is the master and he knows what he is doing. Dhoni won the cup! He won it for a nation of 1.2 billion people.
And people erupted. 1.2 billion people are sick and tired of corruption, scams, terrorism, inflation and this team gave them a reason to rejoice. It gave them a moment of pride, a sense of Indianness and a really proud feeling that yes, we Indians have finally arrived at the stage. Our victories are not a fluke. It was a show of confidence. It was a show of consistency. Beating World Champions Australia, fierce Pakistan and competitive Sri Lanka on the trot was not a stroke of luck! It was pure brilliance and the way we came back in the final after the initial jolt – it was our moment!
Cricket is the religion in India and Sachin is the GOD. And yesterday the young lads gifted their GOD with the ultimate glory – one for which he had waited 20 years! It was team that paid its homage to the GOD of cricket when they carried him on his shoulders. It was the tribute for what he has done for the people of this nation. And they also demonstrated that they are now capable of winning even if he has an off day. That must be making Tendulkar really proud. That he is going to leave behind a team that is the champion and no more dependent on an individual’s genius.
It was a team effort, and people of India know it. If we can win the cup, we can do ANYTHING.
WE ARE THE WORLD