What a weekend that was - India winning the World Cup; witnessing the same with some of your closest friends; celebrating like mad on the streets in the middle of the night; having an unfortunate incident transforming what would have been a good dinner into a memorable dinner that never was; and if that wasn't enough, add the usual tomfoolery that happens when close friends meet and record those moments in HD ;) The match! What can I say about it that hasn't already been said. It was supposed to be a magnum opus - a final showdown between the world's greatest batsman and the best off-spinner to ever play the game. Instead, it ended being a coming of age moment for the next generation of the Indian cricket and the battle scarred class of 2003 alike.
Despite the beating he took at the hands of a sublime Jayawardhande towards the end of the innings, Zaheer should be re-christened Saint Zak. His opening spell was serenity, calmness, control epitomized. Unlike his oepning burst in 2003 where he let the occassion get the better of him, this time it was he who conquered his nerves. His reaction after dismissing Tharanga just said it all. He knew what he had to do, and more importantly, how to do it.
The way the Indians fielded and the way Gambhir and Dhoni batted, it was obvious that they were here to win. They were ready to put everything on the line - their bodies, their reputation, they would have probably traded their souls with the devil, to win the cup for a man who in Virat Kohli's words had carried the burden of the entire nation for 21 years. When the win came, it was as if it had been so ordained - India's favourite son winning the World Cup on his home ground. The reactions after the win were cathartic - not only for the players but for an entire generation which had grown up hearing of the triumph of '83 - a generation that had cried with Kambli in '96 - a generation that had its heart broken in 2003.
What followed the win was one of those I was there moments. We headed to a popular night spot in Mumbai for a late night dinner. Instead of having dinner, we danced on the streets, shrieked with joy till our throats were sore, high-fived strangers. As we chanted Sachin Sachin and India India, we became part of something that would live forever. We saw foreigners with the tricolor painted on their cheeks joining in, absorbing everything in. To use a cliche, it was what dreams are made of... :)
p.s. Another post on all the tomfoolery of the weekend!