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India Vs Pakistan - World Cup Version 6.0

It seems rather insane to me that India and Pakistan's World Cup 2015 campaigns are beginning with the match of all matches for both teams. Speaking to many among my circle of cricket-Watching friends in particular it feels that enthusiasm for India's chances are at an all time low. Some ascribe it to the lack of a certain Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar in the playing XI. Then again there is the historically weak bowling attack, and a rather out of form batting lineup not to mention the lack of a win in the past three months.

Nonetheless it is hard for the die-hard fan not to get up for the marquee clash. Not that I ascribe to the tired 'war minus shooting' cliche. Reading through the reams of material on India-Pakistan World Cup games, I was put in mind of my rather singular experience at the last go-around.

The night before the match I had no idea where I was going to watch. I could of course stream it through dubious sites while sitting at my desk, but some part of me yearned for an actual viewing experience. I was in Atlanta, having arrived in the US in May of 2010. The Mohali semifinal was set to begin at 5 AM local time, and I was sufficiently pumped. A home semifinal. I had to slap myself to remind my brain of the idiocy I had committed in moving just ahead of a home World Cup. Sachin's last at that.

I get a call from an acquaintance. There is apparently a Bangladeshi restaurant way out somewhere that will be showing the game. They will be serving chai and samosa's starting at 5 AM. And that was what I decided to do with my time to watch the game. Meeting my friend in the parking lot the next morning, I was singularly unsure whether I would have been better off just watching on my desktop. We walk in, the room has been cleared. It could have been any random South Asian restaurant in the US with its heavy nasal hook of a mix of butter chicken, elaichi and unidentifiable oily smells.
The TV mounted up on the wall already had the pre-game noise on. Placed in front of which were rows of chairs. Two neat rows to be precise. One with Indian fans, and one with Pakistani fans.

The game began, and I was hooked. Never had I thought I'd actually be watching an India-Pakistan World Cup game alongside Pakistani fans. It was electric. Through ups and downs, the ebbs and flows were manifested in the respective national cheer squads relative volume and pitch. Trading mild insults, and come-on's, everyone politely sipping their 5 AM cups of chai. India up, Pakistan down, and then around. Unbelievably we were winning. Still undefeated, still undefeated!

The 1996 World Cup quarterfinal game in Bangalore will remain my all-time favorite encounter between the sides, especially considering the impact it had on my 11 year old brain, incipient in its drinking of cricketing manna. But as an experience, watching the 2011 semifinal, in Atlanta of all places, at a diminutive Bangladeshi restaurant, alongside Pakistani fans was a singularly unique experience that I continue to struggle to fully comprehend. The ultimate dislocated desi experience.

This time around, I'll be watching from the relative comfort of home, having paid for the official stream, with cricket cognizant friends, although looking through the window at Boston's record levels of snowfall doesn't quite put one in the mind of any cricket playing country.

I will miss the Pakistani fans though. 

This post first appeared on The Answer Is 42, please read the originial post: here

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India Vs Pakistan - World Cup Version 6.0


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