The club had installed huge LCD screens in open air and indoors. The open-air arrangement was filled to capacity, so we stepped indoors. Srilanka had a few more overs to bat and they were thrashing the Indian bowlers apart. India had some moments but mostly each time the ball was hitting the Lankans’ willow, it was either racing to the boundary or soaring up promisingly for a six.
There was rise and dip in crowd enthusiasm accordingly. But a silence followed when the Lankans finished at 262.
As we waited for the match to resume, we realized that our drinks and food orders placed quite sometime ago hadn’t arrived. The club was full-house and there was a shortage of staff. The result was a total service breakdown. There was also a shortage of chairs. So those standing were enviously looking at others’ chairs, while those sitting were reluctant to leave theirs to guard against chair pilferage.
We were asked to go and collect our drinks from the bar. There was no surety whether the foods we had ordered for would ever arrive. The club's service is generally very good and it was quite a departure from the norm.
The match resumed and after a few anxious moments – Sachin's, Sahwag’s cheap dismissal –India looked like it was steadily moving ahead.
But the Indian revival didn’t lead to our relief. We walked to the bar and found ourselves marginalized to a corner, pocking our receipts in to receive our drinks. We managed to do that finally and retuned to our seats.
India was not showing any signs of letting up. It lost one wicket sometime after the dismissals of Sachin and Sehwag, but Dhoni and Yugraj we were looking both sturdy with occasional boundaries and steady with constant rotation of strikes.
In the meantime, some drink accompaniments we had asked for also arrived. Some boundaries, sixes, cheers and downed pegs later Dhoni brought up India’s second World Cup victory, since 1983.
People erupted into celebrations. They hugged, high-fived and even took turn to lift each other up and down.
In the streets there were more revelry and hysteria. Cars were hardly able to move. People in them were sticking their hands out to shake hands. Some were throwing themselves on windshields and others dancing in front of them. The hysteria was intimidating for some foreigners; they were smiling and looking around to express solidarity with the crowd.
I had heard and read about and seen visuals of our 1983 victory. But being part of a World Cup victory was a special feeling.