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Celebrations as World Cup comes home

Bindu Shajan Perappadan
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BIG NIGHT: Cricket fans celebrating the World Cup victory near India Gate in New Delhi on Saturday night. – PHOTO: R. V. Moorthy.
BIG NIGHT: Cricket fans celebrating the World Cup victory near India Gate in New Delhi on Saturday night. – PHOTO: R. V. Moorthy.

Jubilant Delhiites spilled on to the city roads for spontaneous celebrations moments after India lifted the World Cup beating Sri Lanka in a thrilling match in Mumbai on Saturday night. The celebrations matched the carnival-like atmosphere that prevailed when the country won its semi-final match against Pakistan earlier in the week.

Large groups of people came down to India Gate and Connaught Place and their auxiliary roads to celebrate. However, the Delhi Police cordoned off these places so that no vehicles could be driven through.

Good weather, cool breeze and a slight rain that the Capital received on Saturday night added to the feel-good atmosphere all round. Firecrackers lit up the night sky and groups of revellers began cheering and celebrating with traditional drums and loud music even before the Indian team actually won the match. Every run taken towards the end was cheered with loud bursts of crackers.

After the win, people broke into a frenzied celebration with crowds of youngsters taking to the roads in their cars and two-wheelers waving the Indian flag.

“Despite the traffic restrictions we celebrated with loud music and dancing. Of course Delhi Police had come out in large number to ensure that the night stayed incident-free but tonight it is all about celebrating the long awaited victory,'' said Subhas Jain, who along with his friends drove down from East Delhi to Central Delhi to “enjoy the moment”.

Not just in the heart of Delhi, people spilled out on to the roads almost everywhere. In Karol Bagh and several other colonies sweets were distributed freely by residents. “Since the match was so keenly fought and many a time it seemed that India may not win the celebrations are definitely more. People had come out on their balconies and rooftops to be part of the festivities. The revelry will continue well into the night,'' gushed Soni K. Pandey, a resident of Karol Bagh.

“A crowd of over 1,500 people who had gathered at IIT Delhi to watch the match in the open air amphitheatre broke into a spontaneous celebration waving the Indian flag and cheering for the country after the victory. It was a great atmosphere and everyone joined in the jubilations,'' said Neha Kumar, a spectator who along with her friends had camped at the IIT grounds to catch the match.

Several city hotels and the residents' welfare associations across the city had put up large screen televisions to enjoy the game king-size. ``We are happy that the match was scheduled on a Saturday and that we were able to catch it all at one go. Preparation to watch the match had started on Friday night to ensure that not a single ball was missed,” said Nithya Joy, who watched the match at a city hotel with her family.

The carnival atmosphere in the city continued well into the night with people dancing on car tops, cheering and singing and shouting slogans.

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