Im not a cricket fan. I know the sport, because I'm an Indian. You cannot call yourself an Indian if you dont know the game. It's in our blood. But like me, there are some who are allowed to find the sport tedious. Oh so tedious. But being a continent away from home, the city that houses Sachin Tendulkar, stirs up a passion in the sport you'd otherwise ignore. To break it down: Living in the UK has taught me many things about myself, but most of all, it taught me a love of cricket and an understanding to why it's my nation's passion and in its prayers. The morning of the final, my significant other's heavy metal alarm started ringing at an hour where light hadnt really made an appearance. For a change, he put it off himself, and frantically started typing on his iPhone. Instead of kicking him, telling him to go to sleep or just flat-out ignoring him, I found myself asking, from the sincerest part of my half-asleep brain, "Who won the toss?" It didnt occur to me that he could have been checking something else. It was day of the final. And it was being played in our home. He couldnt have been checking anything else. It didnt even occur to me that cricket is not normally something that would emerge from my almost-unconscious. This game was more to me than just a World Cup. The passion of the sport exuded enough energy to tie me back to home. London has many virtues and I love it with all my heart. But it comes nowhere close to the energy of India, something that makes me wilt on even the most perfect of London days. When we stepped out of the house, it was one of those most perfect of London days - where people wriggle their shoulders in the sunshine, the daffodils are dancing, and scores of Indian students are grinning all over the streets, the colours of the flag painted on their faces. We found ourselves in a basement bar, where the flag emblazoned the walls as well as the faces of strangers+friends who like us, had come to spend a good many hours alternating between pumping our fists and swearing. We spoke to friends. We laughed at the Sri Lankans. We drank Coke. We drank beer. We painted our faces. We checked out the opposite sex. We laughed at the ads. We cheered. We cursed. And all of us, all the time, prayed that we would win. For Sachin, for his last World Cup. I dont believe in religion, but I do believe in Sachin. His name means pure. He is our national treasure, the cleanest one we own. If you belong to India, you belong to the Republic of Sachin. It's that simple. When we won, and my significant other lifted me up, I laughed at him from the air, from a blurry haze of blissful faces. As I twirled air-fully in his arms, I felt the burdens of bad news from home, the job market and the looming dissertation leaving my shoulders. Just for today, I would let it go. As Sachin was carried around the pitch, we all stood and bellowed the national anthem. It will forever be the kind of miracle you'd never be able to comprehend. Most of us had been born&brought up abroad, with international schooling under our belt. We hadnt been forcefed the national anthem from birth. We barely KNEW the national anthem. We could hum it, yes. Sing it, probably not so well. But somehow, from this yearning, patriotic and homesick part of us, the beautiful song came to our lips, and we sang loudly; strong in our heartfelt victory for our country. That night, as we watched from my significant others window, fireworks lit the sky above my beautiful friend, the River Thames. We were sending a message to home, us Indians a continent away. We were sending our painful regret at not being there, and a heartfelt joy&relief acknowledgment, that no-one, could be as happy as the billions of Indians scattered across the planet at that moment. Indians of the Republic of Sachin slept well that night. If they slept at all.
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