The Session After Tea: India v Australia at The Gabba
Written by Shriya Rajachandra
In November I said, “Dear Cricket, I realise that if I hadn’t fallen for you, this miserable feeling wouldn’t haunt me. Soon, I know that you will transport me to the land of joy and fix my heart. But just for tonight, let me hate you – please?”
But after today’s game, here’s what I have to say:
Even if it was for a night, I regret saying I hate you. Thank you for fixing my heart, I love you. Can you forgive me – please?
We tried to steal glances at the score whilst stuck in class under the watchful eye of our lecturer. I fidgeted in my chair, wiped the sweat off my hands, and kept looking down at my watch. A boy across the classroom fumbled during his presentation and soon, began mirroring my actions. Clearly, the match was on his mind too. This particular class felt longer and more painful than a 60-second plank. My ears craved for the sound of the bell but were only met with my thumping heart. “How could you be missing this?” I thought to myself. It was the session after tea at Gabba.
Fortunately, we were able to watch the last 10 overs of the game. My friends and I held onto each other and barely moved. Every run was met with a cheer. Every dot ball was met with a ‘koi nahi yaar, Pant karlega,” (Don’t worry, Pant will get through.) During the advertisement breaks, we sighed in frustration. Our lips trembled and so did our hands. This felt like the 2011 World Cup final at Wankhede.
Win we did, but the few moments before and after that final boundary are a blur. Whether it was a blur or a feeling difficult to put in words, it is still unclear. But the picture of the Indian team carrying the Indian Flag moved us to tears. We had conquered Gabba and Australia. Happiness, just pure happiness.
From Adelaide to the Gabba, the grounds resembled a war field. The players were the warriors. The bats and balls replaced the swords and shields. The Indians were the underdogs- broken, beaten, bruised, and tired. Despite this, they played in all glory, carrying their team on inexperienced shoulders, taking the Indian team to the finish line. It was a magical sight to behold.
Right after the series win, my phone was flooded with messages from friends and family. Some congratulated me while the others asked me if I needed a tissue to wipe my tears. My brother was left spellbound and my father, worried that I had missed the game, apologised for failing to record the match. The positivity that abounded was calming. It was a feeling of euphoria, a feeling that we had missed for over a year. The goosebumps haven’t stopped and the smile on my face hasn’t faded.
Babu Uncle, an 82-year-old man and my neighbour, brought home some chocolates to celebrate. As we animatedly discuss the game, a small voice whispers, “I told you Shriya, it is more than just a game. It has always been more than just a game.”
Photo Credits : ICC (ICC Twitter).