Fans burst crackers, distributed sweets and waved the tricolour
Fireworks turned night into day, families came sprinting out of their homes with ‘1,000 wallahs' and a frenzy of celebration swept across the city as India clinched the cricket world cup on Saturday.
Ice cream vendors on the Marina beach stayed put well beyond 11 p.m. anticipating a crowd of jubilant fans swamping the streets. An overjoyed 12-year-old Arjun said “I am not going to sleep tonight. I am going to burst crackers till morning.”
Many people got out of their homes minutes after Dhoni smashed the winning run to dance and celebrate the victory. Some were seen distributing sweets. Groups of bikers were on Poonamallee High Road and Anna Salai waving the tricolour flags as they breezed through the night air. Busy roads such as G.N. Chetty road got covered by world cup graffiti, drawn using chalk by enthusiastic kids.
Two youths from Nepal, Ganesh (20) and his brother Suman (15), were beaming as they burst crackers in the bylanes of T. Nagar. “Hum bahut kush hai,” they said in unison. A tearful A. Kumar, an autorickshaw driver on the beach road, said “It is a 28-year-old dream”.
The run-up to the big final was evident from the afternoon itself. While there were traffic jams along L.B. Road and Anna Salai stretches between noon and 2 p.m. by evening, the usually busy stretches started wearing a deserted look.
Thanks to the weekend too, driving on the city roads was less of a hassle. Many executives and youngsters were headed to East Coast Road to capture the match in a different ambience.
According to T. Harris, who along with a group of six people booked a place at a resort on the ECR, the shores of the beach were deserted and many people have glued to the television sets in their rooms. “The restaurant in-charge was also telling me that the restaurants are empty and everybody wants room service,” he said.
To pamper the guests were resorts, hotels and restaurants that were dishing out piping hot starters and a range of mocktails. Resto Bar, near the Neelankarai beach, said the crowd was more as it was a weekend with groups coming to watch on the giant screen. Zaras Tapas Bar looked like a “stadium”. The actual capacity of the restaurant is 120, but on Saturday, 250 people thronged the space.
Paneer tikkas, continental snacks, pizzas, chicken manchurian were among the many food items restaurants were getting maximum orders for.
Nearly 50 traders on Govinda Naicken Street treated themselves by arranging a 42-inch television on a passage of the Rajendra Complex and spent the night watching the nail-biting match.
Sentiments and superstitions also dominated the D-day.
While some crazy fans stuck to wearing a favourite colour shirt with the hope that it would bring luck, a few were sentimental that Sachin Tendulkar should not score a century as then India would not take the cup.
If you ran out of Diwali crackers, then a few streets in Kasturba Nagar had a vendor asking households to stock them to celebrate India's victory.