Winning the World Cup made us so happy. Why? This week’s column, a tribute to Team India.
If you prefer to read it on the TOI website, the link is here.
Welcome to Republic India-Excellent
Yes,we did it! It took us 28 years but when we finally did win the Cup,we won it in massive style.We won at home,chasing the highest ever total of a World Cup final, recovered after the loss of two big batsmen,and with a stunning six as the victory shot.It is not possible,at the current moment,to praise the team enough.Their victory will give a lifetime of bragging rights and inspire an entire generation.
Equally stunning were the celebrations that followed right after the win.Even though it was close to midnight,within minutes,millions took to the streets.In something India has never witnessed before,there were impromptu victory processions,happy traffic jams,ecstatic people on the roads and a street party to which,literally,everyone was invited.
Why did we feel so great What makes this win so special And is there a bigger impact of the win that we can carry into our own lives After all,as some may say,this is just a game.It has no tangible impact on ordinary Indians lives.Yet,there is no denying the mood-elevating effects of winning the biggest trophy of our biggest game.It is like a booster dose of self-esteem and hope administered to the entire nation.
To understand why this win is so big,it is important to understand the context in which this has come.This trophy comes at a time when the only remarkable news coming out of India was the scams,including a big one in sports.The only remarkable people were the corrupt politicians and their cronies.Many of these people roam free and are even celebrated by Indian society.This is India – connections,the clique of powerful people who scratch each others backs and give each other mutual access to their power to enhance it.This is the way people rise in India who you know is more important than what you know.How you trade your power for another persons power is the core skill that will make you rise in life.
In the middle of all this,our men in blue brought home the World Cup.It was not a competition of connections.It didnt matter who your father was,which minister was your best friend or how much money you had in the bank.Only one thing mattered excellence.For the only way to win this Cup was to play better than everyone else,in match after match.And we played better than anyone else.
Such global recognition is rare for India,but this win showed the way to another,more glorious,Indian path to success : India-excellent.The India-excellent way to success is still hazy,but the young generation is getting a whiff of it.And it smells a lot better than the stale odour of success generated by India-connections.In fact,young India loves the perfume of excellence.That is why the youth came out onto the streets at midnight for the players,but they wont for any politician.The success that comes from excellence feels good its like a fresh and juicy apple.The success from connections tastes like reconstituted fruit.From a distance they may look the same,but for the person achieving it,the feeling is worlds apart.You cant kiss a bribe the same way as Dhoni kissed the trophy.You cant celebrate an unfairly earned telecom license the way Team India did after the match.Your ill-gotten gains may win you some fake friends,but India-connections is just not the same flavour as India-excellent.India-excellent is cool,India-connections is not.
With this win,youngsters today can see two paths.As they grow up,they will have the choice of two roads.India-connections is a well-travelled road.It may be easier,but ultimately less rewarding.The India-excellent road that Dhoni and co have paved for us is the harder one.However,it is more meaningful and more rewarding.
The clash of these two Indias will dominate the next two decades.Right now,India-connections has the upper hand.In the finals,tickets were essentially reserved for the India-connections.If you didnt have the right contacts,you couldnt get a ticket.This,ironically,for a contest that celebrates excellence.But i dare India-connections to contain Indiaexcellent.It wont be able to.Lurking beneath the tiny,creamy layer of India-connections is a talent pool so vast that it can transform our nation.One persons success can ignite the winning spark in millions of hearts.And Dhonis men havent just provided the spark,they have lit a fire.As a tribute to our team,let us resolve to win,and win using the path of India-excellent.After all,if we can be great at cricket,we can be great at anything.Let this trophy be the start of many Indian victories.Thank you,Team India,for making so many of us so happy.