Friday, April 1, 2011

Dream

Fans wave the Indian flag during a match again...Image via Wikipedia
"That's it. I am done. Why should I care? This is just not worth the pain."
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On the evening of 13th March, 1996, that was exactly how I felt. I was a broken man (No... wait, I was only 11 then, so broken kid). I had bunked school afflicted by that mysterious fever that goes undetected on thermometers ("It's how I feel inside!!"); the Indian cricket team had been smothered by the Sri Lankans in the World Cup semi-final and the Eden Gardens was up in flames. I had watched the match first ball onwards on TV and was now in the process of making a vow.
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No more following Indian cricket. Not a chance. Cricket was still major fun to play so the long summer evening sessions with friends were very much on but the hours wasted on watching a heart-breaking defeat were a strict no-no. Was Azhar going to fly in and complete my assignments for tomorrow? Was Sachin going to sign my sick leave application now that my folks were convinced of my 'fever' being not so real? 
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It was perfectly logical. Why should 11 woefully fluctuating performers on a cricket field far far away dictate my state of mind? On the rare day, they did make it float up in a beautiful blue sky, across spectacular scenery; but on most days, they put my mood through the mental equivalent of a paper shredder. I was and still am a person who strives to keep things in balance, not investing too much of my emotions into someone or something. And then came those moments when all balance and caution were thrown to the winds! Indian cricket ranked high on this list of balance destroyers and I wished to cut myself free.
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Today happens to be April 1st, 2011. How did I do on my escape? Failed. Spectacularly. Many times over. 'Like' is something which is quite difficult to quantify or justify. Either you like it or you don't. Facebook had that bit well figured out and hence that magic button. I resent watching India mess up on the cricket field, but I like watching India soar; it's only the mix of pleasure and pain that makes me irresistibly want more. Indian cricket is so much like India, and India is so much like the Indian cricket team.
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I don't buy into the hype around the importance of winning the World Cup for India though. "The dream of a billion plus people?" - Really??? True, nothing brings us together as a country like cricket but nearly a billion of our 'billion plus' are dreaming of more important things like better education & careers, good roads, a plate full of food, functional hospitals, faster justice, even debating if they want to be called an Indian or not and such like, not M.S. Dhoni lifting the trophy. It's a hard fact but if cricketing glory is at the top of your mind, you are having it really good as compared to most of your countrymen.
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Inspite of everything that I said in the paragraph above, for me, at a personal level, this Saturday, the 2nd of April has the potential to be the most important Saturday of my life. Yes, the proverbial elephant in the room, quietly swishing its tail, that is the question of whether India will overcome Sri Lanka in the World Cup final, will leave only after the presentation ceremony is done. It may leave ears drooping and eyes downcast, or it may run out trumpeting joining me as I shout out and jump with joy in a place and country half the world away from where I wanted to be just for this day. For reasons beyond my control, Dhoni and his boys have a major stake in my happiness tomorrow & for a long time to come, and a flood of happiness like this may just be a once-in-a-lifetime event. So please please please... 

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1 comment:

Achilees said...

One lucky toss for you :-)