There are no more alarm clocks for weird times in the morning. There are no all-nighters because you were in a timezone that required you to stay up at crazy hours to make sure you didn’t miss the action. Your sleep cycle can return to some sort of normalcy as India’s epic tour of Australia came to a close in the most thrilling fashion on Tuesday in Brisbane.
You could not believe, despite your partisan support for one side, how you involuntarily applauded superhuman efforts on the other side. Being an Indian cricket tragic didn’t stop you from marvelling at Pat Cummins and his perfection (his bowling helped too). Despite your heart beating to the rhythm of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oi, Oi, Oi”, you stood up and applauded the Indian team that defied logic.
A few of you were lot a closer to the action than the millions watching on from their televisions as part of the team’s bubble and the tension was not any easier to handle.
Maybe some of you missed that one important session of cricket because you had an exam to write or a Zoom call that went on for too long. And then it turned out to be the one session you really, really didn’t want to miss. So, of course, you scrolled through every tweet on your timeline to relive it. You watched highlights, read about it and made up for missing the action live.
And then there are those of you who sat and read the plethora of writing that this series has inspired, not fully realising perhaps the joy you bring to those who write those words.
Of course, there are also so many of you who did not care one bit about the matches and were even positively annoyed by the non-stop chatter around it. But you chose not to make a big deal out of it. Because you understood at some level what was unfolding and how special it was to those who were special to you.
Your boss didn’t let you take an off in the middle of the week but you found a reason anyway or managed to have that favourite live score app of yours ready on the phone and sneaked many a peek to see what was unfolding.
Maybe you had to travel too, that made you miss bits of the matches but you were glad for the television set at the corner of a waiting lounge that showed the game and allowed you to catch a few glimpses. You may even have made someone’s day when you thanked them for keeping them updated with all the key developments.
You put up with commentary from Shane Warne that veered from annoying to incendiary just because you were worried you might miss a moment on the stump mic... as brilliant as Rishabh Pant singing the version of Spiderman-Spiderman that made you laugh.
There are also those of you who were watching the action as part of your job description. In the field of covering cricket, providing score updates, writing articles, recording podcasts or video interviews... and all of it added to the collective experience of watching what unfolded.
Maybe you remembered a special someone not with you anymore, because the joy is only truly realised when you share it and that’s alright too. You may have made new friendships because you realised your love for a particular player was the same as someone else. Or you both hated umpire’s call and Decision Review System with an equal amount of vengeance. You, perhaps, even reconciled with someone you had fallen out with.
For some of you, it would have been bittersweet. As you saw the men’s cricket team being doted on and celebrated, you wondered when you would see your idols Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana return to action. All the while applauding an achievement for all of Indian sport, the thought of not watching the women play cricket tugged at you while you joined along in the celebrations surrounding the men’s team. Perhaps, there is hope around the corner.
You did little things that mattered a lot. You, as a Vice President of your company, did the right thing by rescheduling an interview with a candidate for your firm after finding out you both were cricket fans and didn’t think it would be possible for both of you to be at the best of your mental capacity.
You called your friends to congratulate them or they did, to you.
From Adelaide to Brisbane, you went on a journey full of ups and downs.... you learned something new about yourself, you grew up as a person. You were not Ajinkya Rahane or Cheteshwar Pujara or Rishabh Pant or Mohammed Siraj. You did not play the match for India, but you played your part. By doing everything you did to stay involved, you made this moment unforgettable for yourself and we all need such joy in testing times.
You, like Ravi Shastri said to his players and colleagues, deserve to enjoy it because such events don’t happen every day or year or even decade. It’s a series win to remember for a long time, don’t let this moment go without savouring it.