I was going to write a post on my thoughts on India winning the ICC World Cup when I read the following article on Facebook. Written by 20 year old Shyaire Ganglani, a student of Murdoch University in Dubai, it summed up a lot of my own feelings about India's win to Victory. Here is the article, posted here with her permission-
De Ghuma Ke! A day to be loud and proud that you're Indian!
If you’re Indian and your voice isn’t gone today, shame on you.
I’m an NRI, I hold a Singaporean passport, I grew up in Dubai and I’ve only spent about a year or so in India. There aren't a lot of times my patriotism soars enough for my voice to be gone, my legs to ache, my ears to be numb and my head to pound but today was a first of many new beginnings.
Today, India won the ICC world cup after 28 years. Today, I learned that there are 6 balls in an over and an over goes till n.4 and then moves to the next over. I learned that my people are superstitious enough to wear the same clothes for 2 different matches without washing it because it’s “good luck”. Why is it good luck? Because they were wearing it when India won Pakistan. And yes, I’m talking about Aamir Khan.
Sachin Tendulkar got out in the first 40 runs and Sehwag got out for 0 runs. The first wicket the Sri Lankans took was at 0 runs. I have to say, hats off to Malinga. He’s definitely one of the best bowlers I’ve seen this ICC world cup. Now, if losing Tendulkar right after that wasn’t bad enough to break the team’s morale, I don’t know what is. But they kept their hopes up, their hearts heavy and the pressure was on. The Srilankan team put up a truly phenomenal performance and gave us a run for our money. I even had family members supporting Sri Lanka because they lost hope, bet on it, or called it match fixing.
But to those of you who call it match fixing, I urge to bear in mind that it isn’t about money, and it isn’t about the trophy; it isn’t even about the tournament anymore. It’s about approximately 1.8 billion Indians rooting for their team to win. It’s about the excitement in peoples screams and tears in patriot’s eyes when that final Six was hit by Dhoni and we won. And today, I felt that excitement too.
A bunch of family, friends and I went parading down Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai (It’s Dubai’s very own little India) and it was nothing short of brilliant. With people screaming “De Ghuma Ke”, “Jai Hind”, “India INDIA”, and “Jeetgaya bhai JEETGAYA”, people with paint all over their faces, people with the Indian flag taped to their cars and even people who made dhols out of water cylinders and drum sticks, it made me prouder to be Indian than I have ever been before. It made me realize that I come from a land of unity, pride, and encouragement.
So if you’re an Indian, even quarter Indian or a quarter of a quarter Indian; if you have Indian blood running through your veins, take this moment to be proud of it. 28 years later and we’re here again. 28 years later and our team are the champions of the world.
It doesn’t matter if you’re Sindhi and they tell you Sindh is in Pakistan. It’s part of the INDIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM so you’re as Indian as it gets. It doesn’t matter if you’re passport is red, blue or black. Your race is Indian. Your blood is Indian. Be proud of this moment and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Tendulkar was so right when he said, "Obviously the team stuck together through ups and downs; there were a few rough phases in the team. We proved most of the people wrong, who were doubting our ability"
Congratulations my fellow Indians. It’s time to rejoice.
Check out Shyaire's own blog here.
Like Shyaire, I too watched my second ever match of cricket yesterday, the first being the historic India-Pakistan match that took place on Wednesday. Like Shyaire, I too was being introduced into the mayhem of the sport and had the stupidest of questions like, "Why are there 2 batsmen on the field? So is a wicket a person? How many runs are there in an over again?" Thank God for patient friends! If Wednesday was my lesson into Cricket 101, yesterday was my induction into what it means to be Indian. While I watched the first half of the game sipping mojitos at the Capital Club at DIFC, my friend dragged me into the Times Square Bar at the Ramee Hotel in Bur Dubai for the second half. The smell of masalas mixed in with body odour was only barely masked by the thick smog of second hand smoke that saturated the air and we shoved our way to join our friends who were cramped at a table, screaming over each other to be heard. My first thought, "Oh no.. I've died and gone to India!" closely followed by, "Where the hell did Sehwag go?!" It was going to be a long, painful evening. It was only a short half an hour later that I was busting out my bhangra moves to the loud music that came on at every advert and was cheering manically at every four that was being hit. I was hooked. I realized then that cricket, like India, is all about it's people. Yes, the country has it's flaws and is far from perfect. Yes, it has more than it's fair share of corruption and sometimes can have a questionable justice system. Yes, it's true that India is a country of gross realism that when portrayed in movies like Slumdog Millionaire, causes Indian critics to stand up and scream blue murder. But the escapism... aah, India's escapism! Right from our long and colourful weddings to our fascination with the arts and theater, one just has to watch a 3 hour Bollywood movie to understand how the masses like their favourite form of escapism- long, musical and unreal in more ways than one. That's exactly where cricket comes in. I was tired after watching the almost eight hour matches and couldn't figure out where our cricketers got their stamina from! Tall, dark and impossibly fit, I could however understand yesterday why the youth of today revere their favourite cricket stars almost as much as they do their favourite Bollywood heroes, and why I think Dhoni will be the next Shahrukh Khan. Sitting in the cramped bar at Ramee Hotel yesterday, I remembered my days of living in Bombay, pre-bombings and Babri Masjid Massacres, when I felt like life was all about the simple pleasures. My favourite meals used to be from a food-stall at Worli which served the best pani puri and vada pau in town, and my favourite part of the year used to be getting drenched in the warm monsoon rains. Watching my countrymen cheer on their team yesterday, I was enthralled in the match, patriotism in my heart, (light blue) blood coursing through my veins. Dancing to their victory, it felt like it was New Years Eve, with people hugging and greeting each other with a "Congratulations!" or a "Jai Hind!" It was a magical evening with the win being just the way we like it- long, musical and unreal in more ways than one. Yesterday was a day which made me proud to be part of a country which despite it's flaws, looks to better itself time and time again.. where we we have rich culture and traditions and insane superstitions.. where despite having hundreds of languages and God only knows how many dialects, every single person understands the language of love and cricket. Yesterday a fabulous bunch of 11 men reminded me a lot I'd forgotten about my country and truly made me proud to be an Indian.