My heart was pounding loudly as I entered M.A. Chindambaram yesterday morning. I was dressed in my Team India jersey, and the tricolor flag was splashed across my cheeks. With the ticket clutched in my palm and my my friend beside me, I made my way to my designated seats. Luckily the crowd hadn't settled in stand "I" yet, so Keerthana and I could stand near the gate or whatever it is that separates us from the players and watch them practice. It was such a wondrous feeling.
Next to our stand, Raina and some bowler was practicing. I watched in awe, as one of the most talented batsmen of the Indian cricket team practiced his batting next to me. After that, the entire team came out and had some practice routine in front of me. My eyes scanned for one and one person alone- my idol, my hero- Virat Kohli. As soon I s spotted him, Keerthana and I started calling out for him. After a point I was speechless and I was just waving wildly. That's when he miraculously turned around, saw me waving, and gave a tiny wave back. I couldn't believe it. I guess that made my day, in so many ways.
Then while they were talking, the both of us cheered for Gauti. I am super proud to announce that he turned back and responded exclusively to the both of us. :'D It was one of the best moments of the day, needless to say. The practice session was such a delight to watch. All the players were doing their own thing- laughing, joking around and practicing hard for the game ahead. The entire ground was cheering and screaming. What a fine frenzy it was!
The 8 hours comprising the match were perhaps the best 8 hours of 2012 for me. First, I witnessed an India-Pakistan ODI live. Second, I got to see my favourite, Virat Kohli play live for the third time. Third, it was epic. Enough said.
Being there, chanting the names of the various players, screaming and begging them to perform...those moments and memories are so special, so surreal, that I can't even explain. In college I'm this girl who is loud, but guarded and walled up. But in the stadium, those walls melted...it was as if they never existed. I was the true me, the real me. It was like I had been caged all my life and like I had been set free right then and there. All inhibitions were gone. I screamed my louds, cheered my best, swore when things went wrong, supported them throughout. I danced, sang and completely let lose. I had never felt more alive. I had never though that I had it in me, to be this person, to shed every single layer of fear and consciousness I had and to just...live. It was like that. Such an experience.
Being there, screaming and cheering, Gods, it was out of the world. The recent gang rape case had filled me with a certain kind of resentment for my country. But being there, yelling and chanting my lungs out, I forgot everything. In my dad's words "Nothing brings India together like cricket and war". That moment everyone forgot that they were from different places, had different opinions, castes or religions. It didn't matter. All that mattered was Team India winning. The screams and the names called out were in unison. Unity was there all over. No one faltered. It was the same name on everyone's lips.
I am not as well versed in cricket like Aishu or my dad is. I don't know the technicalities. But I know one thing- I wanted India to win. That was all I was praying for. Each ball, each swing of the bat, I observed everything this time. Each time our bowler surged forward I jumped out of my seat screaming out his name. Each time our batsman lifted his bat his name was on loop on my lips. The passion coursed through me as I did the bhangra. I felt the electricity, the current. I felt the life, the importance, the depth. It was out of the world, it was surreal. No alchololic drink, no nothing could give anyone this kind of high.
The electric current that passed through all of us, the raw passion that burst out of our every moment, every word, it was overwhelming, perfect, heavenly, and surreal. It was out of the world. Unparallel, unbeatable (like the title of my previous cricket match blog title). An out of body, out of world. Only one word came uttered out of all our mouths. One wish. One prayer. One billion hearts- one wish: India should win.
A picture perfect moment. Hands out, faces wrought with emotions, voices screaming out the country's name, the players giving their best, everyone laughing, crying and emoting everything all at once. All the horrors and tragedies forgotten, even if it was only for a few hours. The tricolor flag all over the stadium. Everything perfect, surreal and heavenly. Quoting one of my favourite books "Perks of Being a Wallflower", and in that moment, I swear we were infinite.