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Beads on a string

So much has already been written and said about 2nd April 2011, I am sure I will have nothing new to say. But what if Shakespeare had said the same thing about love, and had chosen to write sci-fi instead? So let me just get it out there.

2nd April, 3pm, I didn't dare to hope. By 6 pm, it seemed like the wisest decision I had ever made. It felt like hoping for a miracle. But what actually happened was pure magic! It was the stuff of fairy tales, Indian ones at least. The power of 1.2 billion people's fervent praying, teary pleading and making deals with God and the devil, was no match for 11 very talented islanders.

Most of us are not even cricket-watchers, we are mere observers. We watch Ind vs Pak, well, because, its Ind vs Pak. But come world cup finals, and all other alternative occupations are wiped clean from national memory for 7 - 10 hours (depending on the result.) All roads are deserted, rickshaw drivers are sitting huddled in front of TV sets, and the nation waits with collective bated breath for the toss. We can't escape it, it's in our blood now! It's an untenable bond that unites our terribly diverse population. And losing the Cricket World Cup, with this dream ensemble, would have been a bitter nightmare. I pity an Indian who can look me squarely in the eyes and say, "I don't care". Like vegetarians, they don't know what they are missing out on.

But how far we were from losing! We didn't win, we STOLE the show! Smashing all evidence that pointed to the contrary, we scoffed at Stats and chased down a daunting total. On home ground. And clinched the deal with a magnificent 6! Numbers remain numbers, when champions step on the field. It makes me wonder, if an 'out-of-form' Dhoni can smash 91 from 79, what havoc can 'in-form' Dhoni wreak? Gambhir's 97 was better than any "century", because 100 as we proved yesterday, 100 is just another number.

Last night, the entire city was out on the streets. The flag was flying high; I mean literally high, off rooftops and bus tops. A sea of humanity descended on FC road: Shivaji was seen shaking a leg with a cop on duty. The fire brigade was out for a victory lap and a PMT bus was plying at 2 am. Of course, most of its passengers had taken seats on the rooftop, but that is a mere technicality. Every face had the Tiranga painted on it, and everyone sported blue. [Pepsi's BLEED BLUE campaign will go down in history as one of the most successful ever. I dare say their 'Helicopter shot' and 'Upar Cut' ads are as popular as zoozoos.] In this madness its only fitting that we were caught in a huge jam- cars and bikes were impatiently honking- honking "INDIA INDIA"!! Itty bitty and very sleepy babies were brought to soak up the atmosphere, while their grandparents decided relive their 20s with a last dance, right on the streets.

Like everyone else, every memory associated with CWC 2011 will stay etched in my mind for a long, long time. Be it incessant Sreesanth bashing, Yuvraj gushing, ridiculing Gambhir's run-out rhapsody, maligning Malinga's hairstyle, despairing over Ashwin being benched or in-depth discussions by self-proclaimed experts of previously untouched topics like bowling actions and methods of calculating statistics. We all experienced just about every damn emotion in the book. Personally, I coped by eating. And hotel take-away and kirana dukaan receipts console me, because I know I was not alone. Light- headed after an incredible day, I went to bed at 3 am knowing that I am a bead on a string of 1.2 billion, a string that is flying a kite so so high in the sky!

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