India won the world cup at 22:53 on 2 April 2011.
It is an awesome time to be an Indian. After having spent of most of the day, sitting on the edge of our seats, praying to gods (known - unknown), the whole nation heaved a sigh of relief before sending out an uproar that echoed down the streets of every city, town and village. Such was the magnitude of the efforts that went into this game that, to many, is the life-blood of their happy existence. And to some, a game that is even now, just a foolish pass-time that is played by 22 fools and watch by 22 million fools.
The 290th ball of the second innings, bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara, was the one that MSDhoni chose to sweep out of the stadium and followed through with his hawk eyes till it reached the boundary and shot India's victory, out of the stadiums and beyond the imaginary borders of our country. A win that was the result of sheer determination of focused minds that chose to let the game play do the talking. A truly amazing and deserving win. The team needs to celebrate and we, Indians, have waited 28 long years, in the books and in our lives, to be a part of this glorious moment. We have every right to celebrate, because we love our cricket. Cricketers in India are beyond movie stars. Theirs is a language even the layman understands and rightfully it has been called a religion in our country. A religion, that has affected every child, who passes it on to their own, building generations of like-minded clones who inherently love the game.
The celebrations began as soon as M S Dhoni was held in a bear-hug by Yuvraj. Much of the actual live visuals of the players celebrating was lost in the activity that followed, deafening screams that ranged from 'chak de india!' to 'bharath maatha ki jai' , were drowned in the sounds of the endless torrent of fire-crackers. There were scores of people on the streets, bikers breaking every rule, cars carrying hoards of people, others wandering around the roads, screaming , rejoicing, absolutely out of control; many drunk, some mindlessly jumping off buildings, others bumping into each other, both pedestrians and commuters alike yelling at the miscreants and forgiving them at once; bringing the entire nation together. A magic that is only possible through such circumstances that require no mention of the patriotism in the minds of the mindless people, drunk/ intoxicated by the 'joy' of the expected, finally, becoming a reality.
A tiny thought interrupted my mind as I basked in the glory of this occasion, in my own quite manner (which by the way, included 10 mins of jumping around and also hugging my parents, between the sprints that initiated loud resounding fireworks). The thought, one thought, nagging me like an itch that needs to be scratched- " is it true?" Can it be true that there are these many patriotic Indians in our country? Would they own up to having displayed their loyalty thus, after the effect of the alcoholic drinks wore off? What is it that makes people so fanatical? How can there be as many Indians in the hottest spots in town, hooting and rooting for India, when there is enough proof that in their sane moments, they would not dare talk of India in endearing terms?
Look at the statistics: there was an election held in 2010, the details of which are easily available if one needs to know. The one most obvious thing is thar BBMP Elections Voters turn out was recorded to be a mere 44.6% in the city. Given that there were discrepancies and some names were missing from the voters list, how can one account for at least 50% of the citizens , not walking up to a booth to stand a few minutes and cast their vote? Celebrities who claim to be the global face of India, shied away from voting, as there were out of the country on important business. Another example would be that I sent about 40 messages, drafted with a lot of words that should have awakened my friends and acquaintances from their weekend slumber, to step out and vote. 5 of them wrote back saying they voted and 5 others were sure they would vote by the end of the day, if the queue was not too bad. Counting their votes as positive, still implies that one third of the people were careless enough to not vote. I was able to verify as I met them within a week and found that their hands did not have the tell-tale ink mark.
Yet, many complain all through the year, about socio-economic conditions of our city, state or country. Patriotism is not isolated to games/events that impact our lives socially and emotionally. It is also an integral part of our daily lives, the place we live in, the roads we cross, the pavements we walk on, the things we buy, the things we sell, the tax we part with, the trees we cut and forget to plant. These are the things that impact us far greater than a public display of a contagious joy of someone having done the hard work for us to accept the praise. Where is the glory in that? Shout, Scream and spread the joy, but do not forget the feeling that you had inside, the pride that caused all this reaction. The country needs more than just a weekend of the true spirit, it needs us to remember that very same feeling, the pride, the next time we get a chance to voice our opinion - cast a vote. It is not just your duty, it is your right. Or will a rephrase do the trick?
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