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India in carnival mode after World Cup win

By Vipin Das M., IANS,

New Delhi : India erupted in joyous celebrations as M.S. Dhoni and his men beat Sri Lanka to win the cricket World Cup after 28 years. Fireworks lit up the night sky and people broke into impromptu street dance after Dhoni hit a marvellous six to clinch India’s biggest cricketing win.

India, which had come to a virtual standstill Saturday, burst into a carnival to celebrate the victory. Packed pubs, restaurants and multiplexes across the country, where giant screens were put up, broke decibel records as the crowds cheered and shouted loudly.

Firecrackers were burst in cities across India, and people in hundreds of thousands trooped out on the streets, hugged total strangers and distributed sweets to celebrate the return of the coveted cup.

The capacity crowd of 33,000 at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai cheered wildly and waved the Indian tricolour at the win and broke into rapturous applause when Dhoni received the glittering gold and silver World Cup trophy.

From small towns, to villages to big metros, Team India’s win overwhelmed everyone.

Young men and women rode motorbikes and cars in cities and honked car horns to celebrate. Thousands gathered at city centres and near major landmarks, like India Gate in Delhi, kick-starting a party which will probably go on for days.

In a cricket crazy country, it doesn’t get bigger than winning the World Cup.

Thousands of youth, who were not even born when India last won the World Cup in 1983 celebrated like there is no tomorrow.

In Kolkata, youths straddling speeding motorbikes screamed “Chak De! India”, wildly waved the national flag.

The country heaved a collective sigh of joyous relief as it became clear that the Cup is here to stay for the next four years.

Hundreds of millions stayed glued to their TVs, transistor sets and mobile phones, from 2.30 p.m. as the match began, cheering every run, every boundary and every slip by the Sri Lankans.

“I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Sri Lankans are such a strong and unpredictable team. I must confess, I had lost all hope when Tendulkar and Sehwag went out in quick succession. But now it’s such a relief I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep at night due to the excitement,” Vikas Raghuvanshi, an engineer with a Noida firm said.

As the Indian team’s fortunes swung wildly at moments, like during just-missed run outs, missed catches and close LBWs overturned, people turned to superstition and prayers.

“The minute I returned from the toilet, I found Sehwag was out. I decided to sit still and not go to the toilet till the end of the match,” said a relieved Srikant, a college student.

But all’s well that ends well.

“There is god, I firmly believe now. Thank you Dhoni, I love you, muaah,” said a delighted Bhavna Sharma, a young advertising executive in Chandigarh.

An ecstatic Dattaram Kossambe, from suburban Borivli in Mumbai, said, “I am euphoric. We won, we won, we won. I can’t express the feeling.”

The streets and roads suddenly turned into instant party zones as people poured out of their houses to celebrate the country’s biggest cricketing win in years.

In Chandigarh, people danced to the beats of dhol and Bollywood numbers. In Hyderabad, the euphoria was similar, with people dancing with gay abandon.

“Thank god it is Sunday tomorrow, the party is not going to stop,” screamed a youngster waving the Indian tricolour in India Gate.

This party has, well, just started.