Scores of cricket enthusiasts took to the streets late on Saturday to celebrate India's historic win in the ICC World Cup finals.
Groups of youngsters whizzed around the city in cars and two-wheelers, waving Indian flags and sounding the horns of their vehicles in shrill shows of unbridled exultation. Fireworks lit up parts of the city sky, signalling India's emphatic win over Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai around 11 p.m. Urban localities resounded to the boom of bursting crackers as the reality of the momentous victory slowly sunk in. Residents danced on the streets to the rhythm of cymbals and drums. Many could not hold back their tears of joy. They had witnessed, although on live television, a rare sporting moment in history.
Strangers hugged each other at bus stands, airports and railway stations as mobile-phone messages conveyed the country's much-awaited triumph in One Day Internationals. For a fleeting moment, it seemed cricket had erased all class and social differences. City life started off on a lazy note on Saturday. Even the fierce and noisy campaign for the Assembly elections ground to a halt. There were no meetings or door-to-door campaigning. Even the continually orbiting election announcement vehicles remained off the streets.
Scores of residents' associations, various clubs and hotels had set up big screens for their patrons to view the finals. Several orphanages, old-age homes and hospitals did the same for their occupants. The Central Prison authorities allowed interested inmates to watch the finals.
The summer shower failed to dampen the spirits of enthusiasts in front of televisions in public parks. The celebrations also took a small toll on some cricket lovers. Several ended up in hospitals with bruises sustained in falls from motorbikes.