Three year-old me would’ve been too young to comprehend the nuances but I’m pretty sure he would’ve followed Dad’s expressions as he grimaced in disappointment at India’s low score. Then, as Amarnath trapped Michael Holding in front of his wicket he would’ve yelled and run around the room just like Dad, with little understanding of the occasion but happy to live the moment with him.
Seven year-old me would’ve run over to the playground near my school near Ooty and exchanged Big Fun bubble gum stickers (the ones with “Kapil Dev – SCORE 6 RUNS” on them), ensuring he exacted more than his fairshare for the players who outshone in the victory. Then he’d get on with his own game. Playable portions of the ground were hard to come by and world cup victories weren’t going to cut any ice with the seniors from school.
Twelve year-old me would’ve used it as an opportunity to make friends in a new city. He would’ve been watching the match on an ancient screen at the Officer’s Mess wolfing down “Mess Ka Tandoori Chicken” and happily running up Dad’s tab with little guilt. He’d be sitting unsure and alone, watching his peers trade stats and insults, desperate to belong to their group. The victory would unite us in our jubilation, wiping away unfamiliarity. We win as one.
Sixteen year-old me would’ve yelled at the top of his voice as we won, mostly to impress the girls watching along with him. Then they would’ve caught the bus into town to loiter aimlessly on MG Road soaking up the atmosphere and spilled Marz-O-Rin milkshakes off their shirts as jubilant rowdies jostled them for space on the sidewalks.
Nineteen year-old me would’ve yelled at the top of his voice as we won, mostly to impress that one girl he wanted to date. Proof of his passion. There were things he believed in. There were things that could make him react with intense emotion. The same intense emotion he was dying to offer this girl (yes, he knows, the wonder years). Then, as the girl would congratulate him with a smile that acknowledged his efforts, and go back home (next door), he’d disappear into a romantic haze of dreamy possibilities. As a result, he’d ignore calls from his college mates to join them for a celebration on MG Road and soak up the atmosphere…
Twenty three year-old me would’ve been eager to assert his new financial independence by watching the match at a pub sipping beer. Of course, he’d have the girl next door by his side (who eventually succumbed to nineteen year-old me’s advances), and they’d meet up with friends later to go for a victory ride to Khadakwasla Dam or just grab a hookah in any one of the city’s burgeoning lounges.
Twenty seven year-old me would’ve used a world cup victory as a means of distracting himself from the huge changes affecting his
professional life. He would’ve enjoyed that moment with his colleagues at a raucous sports bar, getting sloshed, drunk dialing his wife to yell incoherent delight, and planning a rendezvous with friends later in the night. There would be no sleep as he’d stalk the streets of Bangalore blaring loud music in his car with friends and they’d all go home to get drunk and miss work for the next couple of days.
Soon to be thirty one year-old me watched the match today in an alien country on a streaming connection. He was appalled at the score India had allowed Sri Lanka to post. As he grimaced in disappointment, his three year-old son ran around the house innocently mimicking his emotions. Then, as Dhoni hit the winning six, he exclaimed in delight and then screamed at the top of his voice. He noticed his son joined him, screaming at the top of his. The little one had no understanding of the occasion but was happy to live this amazing moment with Dad and Mom.
Life came full circle today.
Congratulations Team India for winning the 2011 World Cup. Here’s to many, many more.