This article has been submitted by Soham Bannerjee for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.
3 runs needed off the last 3 balls. The hope of a passionate city was pinned on a batsman who had just recuperated from a hamstring injury. The bowler, well known for his ability to stifle the flow of runs in the final stages of the match charged in determinedly. A short ball that’s just above the waist and is pulled ferociously for a boundary! It was hard to believe the match was being played in Chennai. The crowd cheered and danced in jubilation for the heroics of the visiting team. The 4 year jinx had finally been broken. Kolkata Knight Riders were the champions of IPL season 5. Shah Rukh Khan, the team owner, looked more drunk than happy. As he cart wheeled around Chepauk to show how happy he was, there was the occasional burst of crackers in my neighborhood. Standard victory procedure one would say. But what followed a couple of days later was by no means ‘standard’.
I remember that day quite vividly. I was “woken” up at 9 in the morning by my mother. The results of the CBSE class 12 board exams were to be declared in about a couple of hours. Not that it mattered to me; I’m a student of class 11. But in Kolkata, mothers waiting in anticipation for the results of exams with which their children are not even remotely connected to were common phenomena. Also, the amazement after browsing through the marks of the topper and the lecture that follows on hard work and perseverance thereafter somehow leaves you feeling guilty of having committed some major crime. So I dragged myself out of bed, not used to getting up before noon in the holidays and switched on the T.V. As I put on a local news channel, yawning and brushing at the same time, I saw a series of buses plying across a jam-packed street. The camera tried to focus on the bus, but the cameraman was in a dilemma as to whether to keep pace with the bus or gather snaps of whatever he can. I finished brushing and opened that day’s newspaper. 6 of the 11 pages had been filled with pictures of the men in purple, who had conquered Chennai two days ago. The other 5 with corruption charges against certain ministers and the steep hike in fuel prices. All this while, my mom kept a steady look on the television screen, peeling potatoes with ease at the same time. The art of multitasking – no one does it better than the women. An hour went by, and then two. No word on the results. But the cameraman continued chasing the bus and his marathon run fetched him rewards when he got good snaps of all the members of team Kolkata as they descended onto the grounds of the Eden Gardens. They were invited to attend a ‘short’ felicitation ceremony organized by the Bengal Cricket Association. And thus began the ‘show’. Shah Rukh Khan climbed atop the barricade and broke into a jig, enthralling the millions who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the ‘Baadshah’ and his victorious Knights. Entering the stadium was free so you could pretty well imagine the massive proportions in which the people had assembled there. One jig followed another, this time with some Bengali actors and the co-owner of the team Juhi Chawla. The crowd was thoroughly entertained and not wanting to miss a chance to dance alongside such great ‘superstars’, some from the knights joined in as well. The best was however reserved for the last as our very own Mamata ‘Didi’ joined in the celebrations, tugging along the railway minister Mukul Roy. As the railway minister celebrated, a train accident in Andhra Pradesh kept looking in his direction for some attention. As the jigs came to an end, the players were finally handed over their mementos. 2 hours of dancing, followed by another two of lathi-charging by the police and a stampede outside the stadium occupied the breaking news slot for the rest of the day.
Mom went back to peeling her potatoes, dejected. I wondered whether this would have any effect on the mashed potatoes she was going to make that night. Tensed, I reassured her that it would be out in the newspapers tomorrow so there was no reason to be dejected and sad. Fortunately it worked, as I gorged on the best Mashed Potatoes I had ever tasted that night. I glanced at the T.V. screen and then at the sumptuous meal that had been laid out in front of me. Without a word I started eating. It seemed easier to digest.