Friday, January 21, 2011

Where were you when Kapil’s Devils won The Cup in 1983 ?

We were in a refinery township near Las Piedras (the Stones) in Venezuela and in a close , happy community of a handful of expats . We were a few Indian families amongst American, British, Danish, Dutch, Canadians , West Indians and of course the warm hearted , fun loving hosts the Venezuelans.
Weekends would find us at each others’ homes and / or more often at the playa (beach) celebrating life with cerveza (beer) , comida (food) and camaraderie. We were young , our children were little toddlers and after a week of hard toil our husbands did not need much persuasion to pack the ice box and swimming gear and hammocks and head out !
We missed home of course and so far away and almost half way across the world the little (and not so little) things that meant “home” . Yes you guessed it , food, films and ah that game of the flannelled fools . Starved of this staple diet of sustenance for the stomach and the soul it did not take us long to source ingredients that would assuage the hunger.
Soon we were making samosas and idlis , frying banana chips and rolling rossogullas and gulab jamuns. We would gather around a television at one or more of our enterprising paisanos who would source video cassettes and hungrily watch the latest ( well to us at least) and I still remember oohing and aaahing over Qurbaani !!???
As for cricket oh it was a drought !! Remember this was in the early eighties –no internet , no e mail , no cric info , no way to access live telecast and so it was ear-glued-to- radio - and- share –static – and -scores –and -statistics mode.
My husband’s cricket crazy soul mate was his West Indian colleague and dear friend . They shared something more than their passion for cricket ; their mothers had the same name . This never ceased to amaze me ; so far away from home , a person from another world literally but something that forged such an amazing link. When it was known that their respective countries would face each other in the World Cup Final in Lords it was their friendship vs their patriotic sentiments.
Its all a bit hazy now ; it was almost 30 years ago but I do remember we were all ( most of the Indian families) at one of our homes that Sunday and having pot luck wishing Kapil’s Devils all the luck they needed and trying to keep abreast of the game ball by ball via the radio commentary.
The anguish at being bowled out so cheaply and then that magical innings where India bowled out the mighty Windies !! When we realised it was over and India had won it was an unbelievable sensation. So far away from home yet at that moment we were all cheering and feeling one with all the millions and millions of Indians back home and all over the world in crazy, heart bursting pride.
It was a few minutes before I realised that Venky was not amongst us . He was on the phone with his friend Kit and from where I was standing I couldn’t hear him but saw him and saw in his body language and expressive face the generous heart of the true cricket aficionado – consoling his opponent and gracious in that great , incredible victory.

Kit Graham where are you now ? Every time the World Cup comes around we think of you and remember you with fond affection and shared, sepia memories that over the years have grown more precious !!!


Nikhil Batra said...

Amma you are Amazing writer.

Clara said...

Viji, it's so nice to read your posts, they are always full of vibrating life :-)
Clara from Kalina


Great nostalgic trip, Viji!

Anonymous said...

Viji... You breathe life into words.../samir

Maiji said...

wonderful nostalgic narrative..viji you write so beautifully keep it up

flowergirl said...

..and I was here in Madras, watching the cricket on DD, which would break every half an hour for news!!

Every time there was a break for news, one or sometimes 2 WI wickets would've fallen, and my brother and me would be wildly cheering!!

Thanks for this, Viji, brought back so many memories!!