Inspired by the point of view of Boria Majumdar, sports journalist par excellence so I decided to share what happened in the cricket World Cup Semi Final that was held in India, 2011 as I saw it. I was working as a Technical Support Associate in Honeywell International India Services Pvt. Ltd. and had approximately seven thousand of my savings when I decided to go watch the match all by myself hoping to make a difference. Goes without saying that every Indian cricket lover believes that his watching or not watching a match does have a bearing on the result which is probably the reason why betting takes humongous proportions in matches of importance. Also, cricket might be a gentleman’s game but is extremely slow and depends whether one has the wherewithal to last seven hours, over two innings to complete 100 overs.
Anyways, I told my Mom that India needs me and I have to watch the match. Boarded a metro with an eclectic mix as a crowd on it’s last legs and then walked till an Inter State Bus Terminal to board a bus for Mohali. Given my scarecrow physique and my penchant for treating food as a compulsion, I surprised myself by opting to grab a bite to while away time. Given the working hours that I had in those days, it was pleasant to experience the morning sun with Paranthas and P.P(Punjab Police) given the threat perception and hype surrounding the match. I got onto a bus which would take me to the nearest entrance to a stadium and was making plans that if I wasn’t able to get in then would probably watch it in a bar with some beer. A fellow passenger turned up and sat right next to me to offer a ticket for the match in black without any inkling as to how or why it happened. We haggled but were not able to decide and therefore exchanged numbers so that I could get in touch again as a last ditch effort. I stood at the entrance where everybody was going in hoping to get lucky but was surprised to see the kind of support and looks among the Pakistan faithful. One girl came up to me and offered a V.I.P ticket for close to 70k and I politely refused for obvious reasons. Then I called the guy again from the bus and he eventually did agree because he had not been able to sell it till that point. Don’t remember how much I spent on the ticket but tried to convince a dhaba owner to keep my bag despite his reluctance. It was the biggest event in Mohali at the time and the sense of anticipation was enormous. I could sense Brit Kashmiris supporting Pakistan in the crowd but I turned a blind eye. It was the best coincidence ever when I bumped into my best friend Sandeep and his wife Rujuta right in the queue who had also come to watch the match but in a better stand. We promised to meet up after the match and proceeded towards the live proceedings. The match was being attended by the Prime Ministers of the warring countries and the security was unprecedented. The match was a close affair towards the latter stages even though India always had the upper hand and the ending coincided with a get together of college batch mates including Tau where the soiree had to involve some sort of high.My Nani hails from Peshawar, Pakistan, a devout Sikh in her eighties and someone that I shared this with. Hope you enjoy it too.