Lilypie - Third Birthday

When toddlers attack

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cricket is not just a chirping insect

It's 2:20 in the morning and I can't sleep, even though the honking has stopped.
All afternoon and into the evening, Delhites have been erupting in spontaneous bouts of cheering, glued to the India-Sri Lanka cricket match.

It started for us this morning on our way to Qutub Minar (amazing, by the way, sort of the love child of the Alhambra and ... um... Toronto's CN Tower. Yeah, that's it.), when our tuk tuk driver asked us something. I don't think he spoke English, but anyway, I couldn't tell if what he was saying to us was in English or Hindi. I meant to learn a little more Hindi before we left but didn't have time and so stepped on the plane knowing just "namaste" (which I already knew anyway) and "dhanyavad" (thanks). We managed to pick out "Sri Lanka" and "match," so we finally figured out he was asking us if we were planning to follow the game.

Well, no. I don't get cricket. It's not just because I'm a Yank and we're all self-absorbed with our own sports. No, I just don't get sports in general. When I was a kid, quiet afternoons would be shattered with my dad's bellows as someone did something unimportant on TV. I found it startling and unsettling,like walking in on your grandmother when she's topless.

That's sort of what the folks here have been doing. They were doing it at the convenience store where we bought water this afternoon. They were doing it at dinner, where two screens featured the match. As we were walking out, there was an especially sustained eruption of cheers. "Did India just win?" we asked ourselves. Not yet. The win came more than an hour later, when, victims of jetlag, we were already asleep. Firecrackers, shouting, horns honking all announced it.

So now, two and a half hours after that, I'm once again a victim of jetlag, unable to fall back asleep. The crowds haven't made it to the greater Kailash area where we're staying, but I did step out for a second to try to shoot a quick video clip with my Blackberry. It was hard to tell if cars were honking to celebrate the victory or just because, well, this is Delhi and that's what cars do, but every few minutes one would speed by with two, three, four young men hanging out the windows, some waving Indian flags. As I was standing in front of the hotel, a man and woman pulled up, parked, and as they were walking in told me I should head towards India Gate, where half the city was in the streets. "Can we go to India Gate?" I asked my comatose husband when I got back inside. He's still asleep next to me as I write this. I'll take that as a "no."

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