Thursday, March 31, 2011

The madness that is cricket!

Picture this: A country with a population of over 1.2 billion. It’s a working day but lots of office goers are suddenly on sick leave. There are not a lot of people on the street. Shopkeepers not interested to sell you stuff because they are busy doing something else. Crowds are thronging outside electronic stores and tension is in the air. All is quiet and suddenly you can hear collective roars of applause or sighs of dismay. What else can this be?

No prizes for guessing what triggered this post. It’s world cup time and whats more, there was an exciting India versus Pakistan semi final match that India won last night! I should have posted this last night but I was busy, you know doing what.

Cricket has always been special to me. It was the one thing my dad and I bonded over. I can’t say that about a lot of things but cricket was one passion we shared. I can remember how he would jump up and down when he saw India scoring that last run or taking that last wicket to win the match. And that grin on his face, it is something that I can associate only with cricket. I can think of few other things that made him respond like that.

So, my colleague and I were discussing the popularity of the world cups yesterday: cricket versus soccer. 
“So, every one in the Indian sub continent is watching this cricket match?” he asked.
“ Well no,” I said. “ I think every Indian, no matter wherever in the world he/she is, is at least following this cricket match”

Non-Indians at my workplace are amazed to see so much enthusiasm amongst us. Is it your National game, they ask? Errr no, that would be hockey. But I can’t name all the hockey players nor do I remember where they played last, which is sad, but true. No other game in India gets as much importance as cricket does. Though we do complain, we are all party to that.

But one thing cricket does, is bring out this deep sense of patriotism whenever India is playing. Or how would you explain smiling at random Indian strangers and sharing that look of pride, whenever someone is making conversation about last night’s match. Tomorrow we shall all be strangers again, but for today, we’ll celebrate together. India won last night’s match and that too against Pakistan. We are all united in one thing. We were cheering for India to win and we are so excited to be in the finals.

I can imagine the tension that would be back home in India. One of those times when I wish I was back home. Back home to be a part of that frenzy.

But wait, it’s here too. Watching a game in India amongst our own people is fun. But what I realized is, watching it with people of different nationalities is fun too. Especially when we’re doing well. Its fun to go to work in the morning and say, “We won, you lost. Tough luck, eh?” The Singaporeans have no clue what we’re talking about. Even though their team lost, the aussies are still are good sports. I say that because they are now supporting India. My British boss enjoys a good game of cricket too. Thank God, we had a tie with England. My boss and I were both happy. I know how important that match was to him. It was to me too. If we’d won, I would have had to stay out of his way for a week.

And what’s more. We’re in the finals. It doesn’t matter whether we win or not but I just hope we can give them a good fight. May the best team win. But, I sure do hope that team is ours.