Written by Shriya Rajachandra
“I broke a chair that day. We beat the West Indies and won the World Cup, in 1983. That wasn’t supposed to happen. But it did and I jumped up in joy and broke a chair,” said my father, animatedly. From then on, I was a-thirst for a 1983-like moment, a moment that I could hold onto and never get bored of, for the rest of my life.
And 10 years ago, it happened.
April 2nd 2011, World Cup Final
India vs Sri Lanka, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
“De ghuma ke, ghuma ke, ghumake” played on loop when I realised that my 1983-like fairy tale moment was here. But as the game unfolded, my moment felt threatened. First, it was Mahela’s century, then it was the dismissals of Sehwag and Tendulkar. About 30 minutes later, when Kohli walked back to the dressing room, my hopes began to wither away.
“Where did we go wrong? Did I make a mistake today?” I thought. This was personal.
I replayed the events leading up to the game in my head. Having utmost faith in superstitions, we had followed the same routine we had during the semi-finals. Four nights prior to April 2nd, 2011, India had defeated Pakistan in Mohali. It was my brother’s birthday, my father was out, my mother and grandmother were in their respective rooms, my aunt sat on the sofa while my cousin and I smeared our faces with paint. That night, we ordered Dominos for dinner.
I had to do something about the situation, I needed my fairytale ending. With these thoughts in my mind, I saw MS Dhoni, instead of Yuvraj, was making his way down to the middle. My brother said they want a left hand-right hand combination. But it made no sense to me for I was a beginner in the world of cricket.
I don’t remember the exact moment but we as a family realised that we hadn’t followed the semi-final routine to the T. For dinner, instead of pizzas, my mom had decided to cook. Not wanting to waste a second more, we ordered Dominos.
As we sat with cheese on our lips, the wheels of fortune turned, the Gambhir-Dhoni partnership took birth and a dying ray of hope was reignited. A voice kept saying, anything can happen, don’t jinx it. So we fidgeted in our seats and prayed.
A few blinks of an eye and Ravi Shashtri yelled “Dhoniiii finishes off in style. India lift the world cup after 28 years, the party has started in the dressing room.”
With 11 balls to spare, Dhoni had hit a six over long-on. He stood in his follow-through for a split-second and then rotated his wrist with his Reebok sponsored bat. By then, all hell had broken loose.
Chants of Indiaa Indiaa and the sound of the firecrackers echoed in my apartment. We were in a state of shock, and disbelief. Our hands were red and throats were sore, we were overwhelmed with raw emotion. My cousin fell off the bed.
I was perplexed. How did this happen? This wasn’t supposed to happen but perhaps, it was meant to be.
For the longest time, I was convinced that our action of ordering a last-minute pizza changed the game. It is silly, I know. But it gave my fairytale 1983-like moment the twist it deserved. I didn’t break a chair but I knew exactly what my dad felt in 1983, as a 26-year-old.