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It was party time for the city

City Bureau
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Bangalore explodes into celebrations after Dhoni's last sixer

TOP OF THE WORLD: Saturday night fever reached a crescendo with fans celebrating the World Cup win. — PHOTO: K. MURALI KUMAR
TOP OF THE WORLD: Saturday night fever reached a crescendo with fans celebrating the World Cup win. — PHOTO: K. MURALI KUMAR

As a battered, grimy white projectile soared over the ropes at long-on to signal India's arrival at the summit of world cricket, the city's nerve centre went into multiple spasms of joy. It was Holi, Deepavali and a rocking open-air dance party all at once on M.G. Road and Brigade's as Indian fans uncorked a million pent-up emotions. They smeared one another with colours, burst crackers while dancing to the sound of blaring horns and revving automobile engines.

Drunk with joy, one man sprayed a thick wad of 100-rupee notes into the air when he was approached by a few street children for alms. Egged on by the revellers, another man revved his motorcycle engine until it sputtered and died. He wore a wide grin as he pushed the abused machine back home.

One man made 32-year-old Mohammed Irshad's day by paying twice the price and buying all the 50 India t-shirts he was selling on the street.

Mock presentation

Another pulled out a rubber replica of The Cup and soon a little unofficial presentation ceremony was staged. They got somebody to act as Mahendra Singh Dhoni, a Ravi Shastri and even managed to convince a foreigner to essay the role of a Sri Lankan player for the street play.

“I've never seen something like this before. If Australia had won, nothing like this would have happened back home. Nothing matches an Indian cricket fan,” said Tom Sutherland (27), an Australian in the city on business.

Ghasan (22) a Sudanese national studying in the city, who watched his first cricket game on Saturday, teased: “If Sudan had won the football World Cup, the celebrations would have been double this.” Conceding that was as likely as Canada winning the cricket World Cup, he said: “After tonight, I'm cricket's newest lover.”

Jereome Daly (23), a French national studying at the Srishti School of Art here, said he watched every match India played in this tourney. “I watched the final overs with hundreds of others on the street as the power went off in the pub where I was. And I had the best time ever,” he said.

Yes, it was a heady cocktail for a perfect weekend: an extended one with a government holiday on Monday, a holiday for educational institutions and IT companies, and the World Cup win.

Earlier, nearing zero hour, the streets turned desolate though there were the occasional crowds, tricolour in their hands and war-paint on their faces. The usually crowded Commercial Street saw a mere trickle of shoppers. However, there was none of the frenzy that one saw during the India-Pakistan semi-final clash on Wednesday.

Cinemas hit

Saturday's final took its toll on everything other than cricket. With not many big releases apart from the Abhishek Bachchan-starrer Game and Ramya-Srinagar Kitty starrer Sanju Weds Geetha, only a very small percentage chose to hit the cinemas.

Cafes, sports bars and clubs were packed by 12.30 p.m. Naveen Gowda, senior captain of Ruby Tuesdays, said: “People began to reserve tables from early this morning and by 2 p.m., we were full.”

Mahesh Joshi, manager of Xtreme Sports Bar, said they had put up 14 LCD televisions in the bar apart from the big screen so that everyone could catch the match. But he admitted that the Indo-Pak match was a bigger crowd-puller.

Public transport was partially hit too. While buses plied as usual, autorickshaws were scarce as the drivers presumably knew their priorities. Auto driver Lakhana Gowda made sure he made his last drop at 2 p.m. to catch the match on time.

Sruti Raman, who was waiting to catch a bus to Kerala, said nobody was in a hurry to leave as both the crew and the passengers were gawping at the TV till Dhoni's last sixer, well past departure time.

Arterial roads such as M.G. Road, Brigade Road, Queen's Road, Indiranagar-Koramangala intermediate ring road, and Hosur Road were clogged with revellers well past 1 a.m.

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