How do you sum up the fulfillment of a generation's quest ? How do you express the collective euphoria of a common prayer being answered in exactly the same way you dreamed about for years? How does a passionate inspiration lift you to shatter your inner doubts to realize your own full potential ?
Today, just a day after Fool's day, eleven men on the cricket field,fooled you in to a magnificent trance for 510 minutes, winning the World Cup after 27 years. To understand the magnitude, I have to give you a personal history lesson.
I was seven years old when the first World Cup was won by India, which I never saw, but always heard stories about Kapil's dare devils humbling the mighty West Indies. I watched in agony the 87 World Cup when Graham Gooch swept my dreams in semifinals. I endured 92 World Cup,watching my idol, a young 19yr old then called Tendulkar,smashing the best world class bowlers to pavilion only to see rest of team members letting us down.
Perhaps, the most painful Cricket memory was watching India lose to Srilanka in semifinals of 96 world cup.The image of Vinod Kambli crying will forever be etched in my psyche. 1999 World Cup was unique for the fact that I watched the games outside my country with fellow Pakistanis surrounded by curious rednecks only to crash out again. 2003 was a highlight year. I now had an apartment with cable connection and India was not a country of snake charmers anymore. We played with grit and heart to reach the finals after one of the most memorable Pakistan thrashing innings by my hero.However,the gap in skills were exposed excruciatingly in the finals by the Aussies. By now, the unfulfilled dream had reached two decades. I have vented enough about 2007 World Cup.It is only befitting that my 1996 memories are erased by 2011 victory over the very same Srilanka.
The wait was worth it!
Today, is the culmination of an era. My Generation's era. An ascension from Young confident men to Assured middle age. From passionate impulsive heart to calm skillful execution. From peaks and lows to measured balance. From contended mediocrity to expecting excellence. From martyring dreams to dog headed perseverance. And no one embodies this generation more than Tendulkar.
Every sport has it's heroes. You have the jazzy Jordan jumping in rhythm during clutch times. The elegant Federer with his sublime forehand surrendering opponents. The brave Armstrong who accelerates his bike over right turns to dash over the finish line. What all these sportsmen don't have is carrying a billion people's expectation for 21 years. What makes Tendulkar the greatest is not his majestic cover drive of Brett Lee, but his ability to bring joy to the man who spent his three month's earnings to watch India play Pakistan. His ability to remain humble and dedicate himself to the craft for 20 years. His ability to transcend race,age,creed,nationalities by his sheer showmanship and skill. No one deserves this World Cup more than the still 16yrs old, quintessential Indian Demi-god.
Every country has it's share of events and moments that shapes the attitude and confidence of the generation who witnessed it. The Indo-China war of 1962 changed our Army forever. The emergency period in 75, took us to brink of communism. The performance of Zubin Mehta and Pt.Ravi Shankar exposed our Artistic wealth to World. A young,idealistic Rajiv Gandhi revived a nation after Tragedy only to succumb to corruption and his own tragic death.The Mumbai blasts, IT boom, Telecom revolution, World's back office,Call Center, Foreign cars, Installment schemes,outsourcing and Rahman's Oscar win, have morphed the divergent populace resulting in confident, strong, brave India. It is no surprise that 2011 World cup win is a culmination of two decades of measured strides.
Should we remain content in this glory time?
Great Nations use moments like this to shape future course.
It is time to move up to next level of excellence.As we rejoice in 1.2 billion voices cheering together, it is time to elevate those voices into nation building actions.No more kids begging on the roads. Clean water and Clean streets. Accountability of public leaders. No more farmer suicides due to lack of food. Consistency and Quality in our services.
Can Cricket teach us lessons to solve our life and country's ills ?
All we need to do is find inspiration in our finals run chase.
Focus on task at hand irrespective of expectations.
Not try to win by fours and sixes but running hard for one's and two's.
Not depend solely on one person but knowing Nation Building is team sport.
And above all, electing leaders who perform with common sense and sense of calm when rattled,leading from the front,pulling all levels of people with care and love!