Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chak De India

The explosions rattled the windows of our little house. We hurried outside.

Don't worry. This was no Baghdad moment. India had just won the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup of cricket, narrowly knocking off Pakistan in the finals in South Africa -- a match with so much baggage that one of my Indian friends had likened the India-Pakistan cricket rivalry to a war between the two nuclear powers.

The Indian victory won the celebrating team a full-page photo on the cover of today's Hindustan Times, knocking to page three the very important appointment of Rahul Gandhi (son, grandson and great-grandson of Indian prime ministers) as general secretary of the All India Congress Committee.

Cricket is really important here.

I watched the last forty minutes of the match, during which any doubts that cricket might be as interesting as baseball were incinerated. And within two seconds of the last out, the explosions started.

From our terrace, we watched the otherwise dark sky illuminated by explosions of red, green, blue and white. The fireworks came from all directions, and continued blasting every few seconds for hours on end -- at least until the wrong side of midnight.

"This is crazy," Aliyah said as we watched our typically slumbering neighborhood spotlighted by sparkling rockets several times each minute. It seemed that most of the fireworks were coming from the rooftops of residential buildings. We laughed as we pictured a blue-collar Indian man skipping most of the match so that his pyrotechnic setup would be ready for launch within seconds of India's victory. We imagined him standing on his scummy roof, waiting, waiting, waiting, until the moment when his stodgy wife yelled up to him that India had won, and he could set his display alight. We laughed even harder at the past possibility of India losing, causing our roof guy to sadly gather his unlit fireworks for potential use next year.

After about 15 minutes of watching the sky's seemingly ceaseless celebration, we went inside. We started reading, but were soon interrupted by what sounded like machine gun fire coming from the park across the street from our house.

"Aiiieeeee!" I cried. "I feel like I'm in Baghdad."

Aliyah patted my knee comfortingly.

"Nah," she said. "Just India."

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Game over. Padres lost today. No wild card, no play-offs, no fireworks. Probably it's time to start cheering for India's cricket team.