Slowly extricating my lifeless arm from under Kay’s head where it had been for the past hour or more, I rolled down from the sofa to the carpeted floor with a soft thud. Picking myself up, adjusting the burgundy throw around Kay, I glanced at Cee fast asleep on the other couch. Finding another throw, I covered her and walked quietly upstairs to brush my teeth. Muted sounds of excited filtered up two levels from the basement, the only indication of the world cup final between Sri Lanka and India.
Still groggy but feeling minty fresh, I debated between heading downstairs and a cup of coffee. The coffee won. Trying to make as little noise as possible, I fumbled about in the dark for coffee powder and cups. Giving up, I switched on a single bulb and waited for movement from the couch. Seeing nothing, I went about brewing a hot cup. Almost done, I picked the cup up to see Kay up and standing. Still dazed with sleep and an unfamiliar environment, she reached out to me. Cee followed in a bit.
It was a bit like Deepavali, the early start, the coffee, the idli sambar and a sense of community. For every wicket that fell, whoops of joy resounded. For every boundary a sigh. In the end, a grudging respect grew for the opposition. A decent score we thought collectively as the first innings was over.
The Indian innings started and an uneasy silence pervaded as the second wicket fell. I put my daughters to sleep and tried to tune out. An hour later, the smoke alarm went off waking me from a fitful nap, Kay and Cee woke as well. Heading down, we saw that Gambhir was holding fort. Settling down amidst a crowd of adults and children equally numbered, the mood was different. There was a suppressed optimism. The kind that comes from knowing we had a good chance.
Another hour went past, I sat there looking around. The joy was evident. Each ball was followed by dozens of eyes. Every appeal booed and every boundary cheered loudly. In the middle of all the excitement, my thoughts went back to Appa. He would have loved this I thought. I almost pictured him sitting on the edge of the seat, face serious, eyes tracking every movement on the screen. He seldom commented or said anything while watching matches. His joy or pain would be evident on his face. Tumblers of coffee would be downed, the seat cushion would have a dent by the time the match was over.
It was the last couple of overs, the excitement in the room hit a feverish pitch and with the last six, a roar went around resonating with the peals of joy half a world away. A nation cheered and celebrated on a win that was not just cricket.
Talking on the phone the next day with Amma, the conversation centered around Appa and cricket. There was a wistful sigh at the other end. A short detour into nostalgia filled lanes. On him playing for the regional leagues. On a five wicket haul each match. On yellowing clippings from The Hindu. On a dream unrealized.
Settling down to course work from my MBA, I was done sooner than I had expected. Logging into my email which was collecting dust over a few weeks, I saw a forward from K. A friend was making his debut as an actor. A big screen debut. I felt a thrill of excitement. Clicking over the links, I checked out the movie’s fac.ebook page and the music on raaga. Not bad I thought. The recurring thought about unrealized dreams came to the forefront. I sent out a note to Raaghav wishing him well and to my surprise heard back. I have no idea what the movie is about but just the fact that someone had walked off the beaten trail to blaze one of his own was inspiring.
So, thus ended my weekend. How was yours?