India won the world cup today. The last time they did this was in the year 1983. Now, I wasn't born till the June of 1985 and from what I can recollect dad bought our first television set (an Uptron set with six channel settings) in the year 1988, and it took a further five years for me to consciously recognize and understand the game of cricket and all its nuances, while being subjected to Kapil Dev's BSA SLR print ad in India Today and the TVC of "Palmolive ka jawab nahi". And by then the obsession with movies and cricket had taken deep roots in my psyche and I reckon to a large extent had influence on the way I perceived the world. So, irrespective of how many times the sports channels replayed moving images of the 1983 victory, I never really understood the euphoria the then playing eleven of '83 squad went on and on about every time there was a world cup around the corner.
And ever since I understood the game, every little tit bit about the sport, on how to play and who played it, was devoured with an intensity which would have put the Cloverfield'esque greedy appetite for power, fame and lust portrayed by (now caricaturized) Bollywood villains of that era. And there have been reams and reams written on how cricket is a religion, the beacon of hope for the common man, enough for you to make a paper machete dildo out of it. But, for a small boy, who wanted to projected his dreams onto the playing field, it was mighty important for me to win, it was never just about participation, it was about gaining respect, from your peers and seniors, especially those who were skeptical and cynical about a little boy wanting to play amongst the big boys. And for the longest time, the Indian team always played this role I was living.
But, as I grew up, this projection of wanting to win, of wanting to gain respect from my peers (even if it was earned grudgingly) grew like a maggot infestation on a dead carcass on other areas of my life. And even when you earn this respect, there is always this one little pesky demon called self doubt. And self doubt is far scarier than waiting for your girl's periods to come on time after you convince your drunk self that you can and will "pull out" in time. And it is this demon that I have been fighting for the longest time, I still am and so was the Indian cricket team for the longest time.
People always expected phenomenal things from the Indian cricket team, they had all the makings irrespective of the status as being underdogs or favorites. And at least for me the nation always treated the Indian cricket team as their prodigal son, much like how my family still considers me to be one. And till today, we had always managed to show promise only for somebody else outside the family (which includes people from the family who were skeptical and cynical) to turn back and say "I told you so!", and it is always hurt.
So, when today, when the prodigal son returns home, with what he had been promising his father and forefather, it gives me hope, it lights that beacon of light at the end of tunnel as I struggle to realize my dreams, it gives me the strength to believe in myself and to fight with the demon called self doubt. And so, as the images of teary eyed members of '11 world cup winning team get flashed repeatedly on every channel possible, I am awash with optimism that I, the prodigal son will live up to the expectations I carry on my shoulders.
And yes! The images are reminiscent of a well scripted feel good movie and I have always been a little bitch when subjected to such things and yes! I am teary eyed. Not just because we won, but because finally the prodigal son has delivered what he set out to do.
And now… I wait for my turn.