Saturday, March 26, 2011

India vs Pakistan - An unexplainable feel

I have always prided myself on having the Indianness instilled in me and it's kind of embedded in every layer.  There are no two ways about it.  There are moments when the pride is taken to a different zeal and level, and the confirmation is absolutely unquestionable.  There is one binding factor in India that transcends across religion, caste, economic classes, status, power and the different fracas of life, and that has to be cricket.  I say fracas, because with the advent of time, little things get magnified and we have found several reasons to cross swords with each other, and the result is there for all to see - government vs opposition, bureaucrats vs general public, corporates vs lobbyists, politicians vs reporters, and last but not the least, tonnes of internal family squabbles.

But, come Wednesday, everything in life is going to take a backseat.  India is going to witness the least economically productive day, and not for a reason. North, South, West and East, and millions around the world will be locked in a time warp, where everything outside the 22 yards and the surrounding boundary of the PCA stadium, Mohali is going to be put out of concern.  Offices may be open, but I doubt whether anyone would even consider going to work, shops and establishments may be open, but would witness lackluster business and if you are talking about deadlines at work, forget it! Schools can rather declare a holiday, and for a change, people in Bangalore and the rest of India would not talk about traffic jams on the roads.  Traffic would not even be a concern as I doubt whether even a fly would make its way away from a TV set.  It doesn't require any kind of mystery to figure out that Wednesday, March 30th is going to be a blockbuster day for Indian cricket.  Undoubtedly, the biggest match of the World Cup, INDIA vs PAKISTAN, a battle royale, worthy of surpassing the best of the best of competitions, will reach a crescendo, bringing down the roof, rather, the skies and will ebb and flow with each team (read India!!!) trying to outdo the other (obviously Pakistan!!!) giving us a humdinger of a finale.  Even when I write this piece, I don't want to think of the possibility of Pakistan trying to get the better of India.  It's too hard to even imagine that.  Take the Mumbai 2008 attacks into account, and take the context of what happened, this is literally a war without ammunition.  Even for a second, I don't mean to say that this match is going to mask what happened in Mumbai.  What happened in Mumbai is absolutely condemnable, and no Indian would have forgotten the horrific terror attacks in November of 2008.  But, it is just that the context is too hard to ignore.  India suspended all ties with Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attack, and an India-Pakistan game in India is taking place after four years.  The magnitude of the match need not be explained.

Here in the US, as my fellow Indians and I are paralyzed with awe and excitement(we are also filled with trepidation, let's not lie about that) talking about the World Cup Semi Final encounter, my American friends ask me "Is it like the Super Bowl?".  All of us are quick to quip that it's not even close, rather, no sporting event in history comes close to this.  Not even the much talked about Ashes comes close to this.  It is totally a different atmosphere, and there is almost an unexplainable feel to the whole thing.  This is just the semi-final of the tournament, and even the finals will not be so closely scrutinized.  Talk to any Indian/Pakistani, every activity from now until Wednesday takes a backseat.  There is only one thing constantly whizzing in our heads.    As I have said earlier in one of my other blog posts, like me, more than a billion plus population will be playing out several scenarios in their heads as to how the game is going to shape up.  It is fantasy cricket of unimaginable proportions.  The last time we played against each other in the 2003 World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar took the game away from the Pakistanis in stirring, blistering, brilliant, magnificent and thrilling (the adjectives can make another blog post) fashion.  We still haven't got over that game.  I hope the 2011 encounter will live up to its billing.  Even if it is an one sided encounter, we will take it as long as India wins the game.

After all this, if somebody makes a statement that this is just another game, he deserves to be whipped.  Win or lose, it doesn't matter, as long as we play to our potential, does not hold good.  We are expecting a win.  There is no doubt about that.  The players do understand that this is pressure of a different kind.  If it is a loss, we are going to be disappointed.  That is the great aspect of sport because as players you are directly able to control the emotions of a billion plus cricket fanatic population.

Yes, there is gargantuan pressure on the players.  That is the kind of pressure that lesser mortals are not capable of handling.  After the match, you will hear reports of a number of heart attacks and for a change, Ricky Ponting will not be the only one to have smashed a TV set.  Not only Sachin Tendulkar, every Indian and Pakistani player needs to have a Godly demeanor to handle this kind of pressure.  It does not get bigger than this.  You are playing in the World Cup.  You are playing for your country.  You are playing against Pakistan (Sorry, I can talk only like an Indian supporter.  I make no denials to say that I am proud to be biased.)    

5 comments:

  1. good post dude, agree with you..no political correctness here not to be biased and we are expecting nothing less than a win...they should humiliate (dont care if it is a one sided match) and take the revenge of Mumbai attack. as you, can't even imagine losing this, just hope how better we are going to win !

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  2. Thanks maga! Just waiting for the big game :-)It is too hard to come up with statements like "Cricket will be the winner" :-)

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  3. Visiting your blog after ages ! very well said !! you would be envious to know that I witnessed this match live :D it was an experience to remember !!!!!

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