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Amazing! Stupendous! Scenes of unbridled joy erupted in and around Mohali and Chandigarh. And Yes! I was there soaking in all the revelry and patriotism which was out of this world experience. We rode on the wave of emotions which didn't need much to be aroused.
There were many goosebump moments: right at the beginning when 40,000 fans sung the National Anthem in unison or Vande Mataram each time the ball raced to the boundary or a Pakistani wickets.
We cheered Virender Sehwag's take-off, tearing into Umar Gul who never recovered after that. The Pakistan's generous way of returning the Punjabi hospitality by giving Sachin Tendulkar Diwali, Christmas and Id presents in one day.
Then there was the fear and despair of watching the Indian batting fritter away the early advantage. Wahab Riaz rose to the occasion and stunned India five times over, picking the local hero Yuvraj Singh first ball. His bowling spell was reminiscent of Pakistani legend Wasim Akram.
But as the sultry day turned to a cool breezy evening, the Indians warmed the fans' hearts by picking Pakistani wickets at regular intervals and staying on top in the game. The bugles, drums and DJ blaring out Rang De Basanti, Chak de India and many more Punjabi numbers got the fans dancing the whole night and the chairs were a pointless accessory as the fans were always on their feet.
There was a small section of Pakistani fans and they to enjoyed the game and joined in the cheering and jeering, all in good spirit. They were great and beautiful warm hearted people.
As the match got to its denouement, India raised their game and bowled magnificently backed by the complete opposite of Pakistan's fielding effort. Misbah-ul-Haq tried valiantly and took it to the final over but his wicket off the penultimate ball was the trigger of the frenzy. The crowd went bezerk and it was impossible to hear oneself think as the fans rose to their feet to wave at the victorious â€˜Men in Blue'.
As the Indian Prime Minister greeted his counterpart, we Indian fans received congratulations from the Pakistan supporters, which we reciprocated by giving them our commiserations. It was a great advert of India-Pakistan relations and one of the best moments of the night was when Shahid Afridi was given a standing ovation and cheered by the crowd at the post match conference.
At 11 in the night the party had just started as we got a first hand glimpse of why Cricket is a national integrator and rises way above caste, creed and color. We did bhangra on the roads, high fived fellow Indians and even Policemen who did a commendable job in making it a hassle free high stakes game. We hugged strangers and congratulated them as we were bound a common thread of Joy and Delight. In the season of spring, Diwali had arrived.
As we drove through the streets (managed it somehow), it seemed as the whole of Mohali and Chandigarh had come out for the unannounced and impromptu party. We were wearing the Tricolor in our hearts and jam packed crowds on the streets were going ballistic. Saying that Punjab had gone nuts would be an understatement. People halting their vehicles and dancing with the fellow Indians continued late into the night. Chants of â€˜Bharat Mata Ki Jai' kept doing what seemed like an infinite loop.
Legs paining, back aching and no voice left in my throat, but the joy in my heart will last a lifetime. Mohali will take days to get over its hangover and the day 30th March, 2011 will be etched in our minds forever!
File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20
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