Vantage point

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Imagine this!

A room of 8 feet X 10 feet.
Around 150 guys inside this room.
The fan in the room not working.
Sweat sweat and more sweat.
No music, no food, no chicks.

And yet, that half an hour there was one of the most memorable occasions of my life.

Am, I a masochist?
Or was I in some previous incarnation, stuffed into the black hole of Calcutta?

None of the above, I am a true Indian, and therefore by implication a cricket fan!!!

Didn't I mention there was a TV airing ESPN in that room? There was!

Yesterday's match was so good, I still can't believe it happened. As Harsha Bhogle said, the cobwebs in our mind had led us to believe that we couldnt never pull off such an unlikely victory. Only two men believed it, and those two men were where it mattered most- on the pitch at Lord's. Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif scripted a Lagaan-like ending to what was definitely one of the most amazing matches ever.

After England posted 325, the mood at the insti was one of despair. Everyone gave up hopes and headed to the Concrete Floor, the scene of Parichay (as I mentioned in my last post). Then word trickled in, "Ganguly's on Fire", and everyone headed to the nearest common rooms and the audience at 'Parichay' sorta thinned. India reached 100 in just 13 overs as hopes of a repeat of Dhaka '98, where India chased 314, resurfaced. But then Ganguly got out and Sehwag followed suit. Tendulkar has never been a big match player or good at chases, and as expected he got out in a clumsy manner. At 146/5, India seemed to have stuck to the script. As Crimemaste Gogo so aptly put it, "haath ko aaya, mooh na lagaa" (roughly translated, faltered at the post). We all headed to watch the show and forgot about the match. Then during the dinner, someone broke the news..."India needs 65 off 60 balls, with 5 wickets still in hand. Yuvraj and Kaif going great guns". I almost choked on the tandoori chicken, then proceeded to finish it off in haste and headed to the Hostel 9 common room.

The room was packed with humanity from wall to wall. I managed to weave my way through close to the television. The air was thick with enthusiasm and patriotism. people kept screaming the following things at periodic intervals-

i) Bharat Mata Ki jai and jeetega bhai Jeetega, India jeetega
ii) All sorts of expletives of punjabi origin with not so flattering references made to the mothers, sisters, and various body parts of the English players.
iii) For some wierd reason, dialogues from the movie "The Legend of Bhagat Singh", like "Down with Imperialism", "Long Live Revolution" and "Britishers go back" (tho it was the Indians who were in England).

So my ear drums got the workout of a lifetime, as did my sweat glands. But it was a thrilling experience. One of the guys gave me a camera to take a snap of the room the moment the winning shot was hit. Can't wait for that pic to develop.

After the match, we headed to the insti party in the Badminton hall. Everyone danced their hearts out. It was special to win such an important match from such an impossible position.

Go India!!!