India wins the semi finals

Last night it was the semi-finals of the cricket world cup. Although hockey is officially the national sport of India, the only thing I’ve ever seen played in fields or on the street is cricket. Every boy, yes, girls don’t play 99% of the time, plays cricket, knows about cricket, loves cricket. Last night’s game wasn’t only big because India made it to the semi finals, but it was huge because the game was against Pakistan. This was also a game of pride for the two battling countries. This game was so important that offices, including my own, let their employees go early. Some offices used their conference room’s television to watch the game together.
I was playfully ostracized by my friend Rajan about not really caring about the game and using the time in the office as “quiet work time,” so I joined him and his friends for the first half of the game before I had to go to the dance studio for some capoeira. After an hour and a half of the game and right after lunch, I promptly fell asleep and took a power nap. It was amazing. At the dance studio, there was a crowd of girls around the TV by the front desk. These are all paying guests in the rooms. A paying guest (PG for short) is someone who shares a room with a bunch of girls (like a hostel) and gets fed by the hosting house. I had a mini lesson with Gashmeer, the boss who wanted to learn the basics, and then we enjoyed the rest of the evening chatting, having some beer and hookah, and listening to the surrounding neighborhood go into complete hysteria each time an Indian fielder got out a Pakistani batter. I learned some new terms like off-side and leg-side, wicket, baller, century and half century, and a few terms that I forgot the names of but can understand in context. I remained on the terrace with Gashmeer, his mom, and a few of the other dance teachers who have been taking class with me, until the last few minutes of the game. We all joined the rest of the people in front of the TV to see the victory.
At the moment the announcement came that India beat Pakistan, the entire neighborhood exploded, people took to the streets on their bikes, fireworks went off, people screamed, whistled, danced, and jumped with joy. This lasted about an hour. From the terrace, you could see people on their motorcycles in the street waving the Indian flag. It was the most incredible display of nationalism I’ve ever seen firsthand. We just don’t have things like that in the US, something that unites us all, that takes us to the street out of complete and utter joy. It was definitely a sight to be seen. Of course, because I’m me, it also makes me a bit upset that people can’t unite like that on other issues such as saving the earth, fighting global warming, education, health, etc. I always have to take things to that level.

In other news, I’m moving! I got the confirmation call today. My friend Vibhor remembered he had a friend who lived in a flat and apparently her roommates are moving out – so is she but not until June. So I can move in on April 15th. I have to tell my landlord tonight. It’s not that much cheaper than my place, but it’s in a very convenient location, it’s a great flat, I’ll have roommates, and the best thing is that when other folks move in, they’ll be moving into a place where I am already. I really, really, really, really hope this works out. It has two big bedrooms, a common room, a hallway, two bathrooms, and a lovely kitchen with a real sized refrigerator. It has screens on the windows and stays much, much, much cooler than my current place. It will be worth it even if I only stay there for 2 months; last night I woke up again scratching. In the morning I found mosquito bites on my forehead. I’m so happy to move. I’m also a little sad to leave my landlady. She’s been really great (besides the weird times). Hopefully she’ll allow me to come back and visit every once in a while.

P.S. here are two articles about Cricket: The first about Sachin Tendulkar – the god of not just Indian cricket but all cricket. The second is about how students in LA watched the game.,0,3865394.story

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