I was handed a plastic bat as my first ever birthday gift that I remember. Of course I didn’t go on to become a cricketer but the passion, specially for the entire cricket generation of 90s and early 2000s was immense as a child. From Saeed Anwar to Sachin Tendulkar and from Andy Flower to Steve Tikolo, I still remember some of the most trivial details and records of that era. Like any other Indian kid from 90s, I worshipped the trio of Sachin, Ganguly and Dravid. I could emulate the bowling actions of everyone from Kumble to Klusener. When I batted like Sachin, I would adjust my thigh pads while as Dravid I would make sure that I was sweating profusely.
The saddest day for me was when India lost the finals of 2003 WC. I felt sad because, day after day, month after month and year after year, the stalwarts of Indian cricket were getting old and their chances of winning THE trophy were slimming out. In 2007, the sorrow deepened. By the time 2011 appeared, I had somewhat lost my passion for cricket. I was still a fan, who rooted for my team but the crazy, shouting, pillow tearing kid had died somewhere. Other than Sachin, all my idols had more or less seen the sunset in their careers.
I remember I was in Btech first year and on the day of finals, April 2nd 2011, we had our physics practical exams of End Semesters. We, of course, bunked it and due to our no show, the management had to postpone the paper to next day. For the first time, I had painted my face in tricolors and sat on our mess floor, along with 1500 other freshers.
At night, after Dhoni had hit the final six and Tendulkar held the WC in his hands, the chairs were thrown on the tables and some collateral damage was done. Guys broke the water pipeline and bathed in their handmade rain. Somehow, I had gone numb though. I quietly went in my room, closed the door and cried. My hands trembled as I switched off the light, put my cell on flight mode and closed my eyes. Every whisker on my hand was standing at 90 degrees as I kept lying on my bed lifeless. It was a surreal moment, a moment I had waited all my childhood, for four world cups, nearly 16 years. It was in that moment, I knew I didn’t need to watch cricket anymore for I had witnessed the best moment a fan could ever have. A feeling that was beyond words. The noise outside, of boys shouting, cussing, bathing in the pipe water, banging the reception tables and jumping off the stairs continued in my ears as I slowly went to sleep. I woke up next morning and checked the internet once. Sachin stood by the Gateway of India, in a suit, holding the glorious trophy.
No, it was not a dream.