Tuesday, 5 April 2011

What a World Cup means to an Average Indian

We, the humble Middle Class of India are subjected to a world of obstacles, but also a universe of opportunities since the time we step foot into this big bad world. We’re a people of determination, courage, tolerance, flexibility, ambition, understanding. We are a young nation of free thinkers, a nation of spirit, a nation of symbiotic relationships. The Middle Class specifically, is a grandiose structure, a society of individuals bent on making small big. In a lifetime of strife and struggle, to achieve, to survive, why do we rejoice at a victory that is not personal? In a world of personal battles, why does a cricket match bring so much of, what can only be explained as happiness, to us?

I am a Middle Class Indian girl. I am lucky, to have been born to an educated liberal family, who cherished having me as the first grandchild. I was showered with love, and pampered with attention. This is a luxury that many Indian girls are deprived of. They’re born to a family, which does not want them, they’re born to a society, which does not understand that it needs them. They’re born to a life of cursing and being given second-class treatment, while their brothers and the men in the family get treated like royalty. For a girl born in these circumstances, the first breath itself is lucky, if they haven’t already been killed in the womb. Upon birth, the family is often consoled by “well-wishers”, rather than congratulated. And thus begins, a lifetime of proving to the world, that they are not a mere burden, thus follows a life of torment, a life of someone else taking decisions for them, a life where everyday, every achievement is a World Cup of sorts.

Do not be mistaken, the life of a Middle Class boy is no bed of rose petals. Even though he’s a wanted child, the burden of being the prodigal son is immediately shoved upon him. He has to excel in everything he does, often mistaken for Midas. Disappointments follow, so does frustration. Responsibilities are forced, expectations skyrocketing, and again, someone else to take basic decisions for you. A boy is a man before he can walk, and his future is laid out for him, whether he chooses it or not.

For us, the Middle Class citizen, nothing is given. We’re hard-working, service or business class people, who are bound by day-to-day restrictions and setbacks. We contest millions for school admissions, but are often rejected because our parents cannot afford a hefty fees or “donations”. If lucky, again, we reach the schools, but are always made aware of our financial and economic conditions, by our rich, upper class counterparts, who happen to get things a lot easier than us.

Somehow, we pass through that phase, and complete our school education, only to enter into a mammoth battleground of college admissions. We’re hard working, deserving, but not connected. We have the brain, but lack the brawn. We have the marks, but where do we get a politician or a business tycoon for a father? Again, if by some sheer stroke of luck, we make it to the university of our choice, and go through the process, how do we get jobs? We have a degree, but no letter of recommendation. We have the calibre, but no backing.

Slowly, but surely, parts of our heart and spirit breaks away, becoming victim to the ugly realities of life.

Then one day, we watch a World Cup Final match, and we put a lifetime of hope and prayers into the game. We watched and prayed and wished for our Indian team, to reach that place, and it finally has. With every run an Indian batsman makes, a part of our soul and spirit returns. With every ball an Indian bowler bowls, we put our hands on our hearts, and feel the blood flow in anticipation. Through all the struggles, resistance, friction, our lives have energy accumulated, and every time an Indian batsman connects with the ball, and runs down the pitch, that energy is released. A roar comes straight from the bound strands of repeated disappointments and screeches out of out throats. The ball becomes our personal obstacles, the bat our will, with which we courageously pass through one step after another.

The match progresses, and the excitement rises. We laugh and sing and cry and scream. We cheer for our heroes, we celebrate the highlights, we loyally stand behind our team. We put years of hopes into this one match, which will give us the chance of being titled as World Champions. It’s a victory shared by a nation, something that eluded us for years. Like the countless other misgivings, this is one goal that we struggle and strived for, something we came so close to, but could not achieve.

Then, the magic moment comes. Our Captain smashes the ball right into a screaming stadium. We, the Middle Class, forget a life of troubles, and embrace the sheer joy of the moment, when We won the World Cup! Victory comes through perseverance and determination, and who knows this better than us. The ball is finally smashed right out of the field, and we feel an inexplicable exhilaration. We hug and sing and dance and celebrate. We run down streets, burst firecrackers, march with strangers, honk and drive, go wild. We let go of the clasps our pressures and responsibilities and party it up like there’s no tomorrow. We celebrate together, and we weep with happiness, we bow to our cricket gods. A World Cup victory, is not just a victory of a game, it’s the victory of our spirit, it tells us that we can still hope, we can achieve, we can get whatever we want if we put our hearts to it. Hard work does not scare us, and our World Cup is not far from us. We are Champions, and our World Cup is a symbol of that!

We are the Champions, my friend!