It was late afternoon yesterday and the repeated refreshing of the Internet scoreboard brought no good news. Work was impossible to attend to so you had to go down to the office cafeteria where the TVs were and find it already packed. The look on the people's faces already there seem to in agreement with your worst fears. If any team could avoid victory from this stage on, it could only be India. As an Indian cricket fan, that is a fear you learn to live with and internalize.
Only one wicket to be removed for glory and the opposition had been hanging in there for a 100 odd balls already. The two batsman looked invulnerable, a wall of stone to the little pebbles being hurled by the Indian bowlers. The slightest of non-chances were greeted with a roar both from the Eden Gardens and inside our cafeteria, both desperate for any opportunity to relieve a little bit of the intolerable pressure building up inside. The overs were running out rapidly as end of day approached. Sachin was given the ball but even his magic failed this time around. A couple of really close calls did occur as the balls turned unexpectedly sharply and could've have ended the match but we were getting that sinking feeling that the fickle Lady Luck was not on our team's side today.
You began to console yourself as the cafeteria began to empty with 5-6 overs to go. Not everyone had the time and the gumption to stomach that feeling of defeat. You hung on putting on a brave face and mouthing "If we lose, we lose, but we stay to watch and support till the end." without feeling even the smallest shred of optimism as a bitter taste of dejection welled up in your mouth. Whatever happens in life happens for the eventual good, you had to explain in vain to the painful sensation in your heart. After all South Africa played really well, didn't they? They deserved to save the match. Accept reality and move on. Can't expect everything in life to go your way, can you?
The TV broadcast showed the crowd in the stadium to have gone silent too. One or two eternal optimists tried to drum up a "India! India!" chant in the stands without much success. Everyone it seemed had resigned to their fate. Then... on the second ball of what could have been the last over for the day, a flash flood of happiness! He's out! He's out! He's out! Oh my God, its over! India win! India win! India freakin' win! What a feeling, what an God awesome mad stupendous feeling of relief, of surprise, of redemption! The world around you is delirious with pleasure, pleasure that runs right from the heart to the depths of your soul. There's a buzz in your brain, an incomparable high as the people around you perform their own personalized version of a situation induced lunatic dance. The world is once again a wonderful place to be in and you love it, all of it, down to the smallest pebble in the deepest ocean!
"What is joy without some pain,
What use is the sun, without the rain,
This is my life, this is my song,
Let it play... freakin' all day long!"