The festival of Diwali seems to have set in early this year in Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai, as people all over the southern state celebrated the West Indies’maiden T-20 World Cup victory by decorating the night sky with firecrackers.
Earlier in the day, a large number of devotees held aloft banners proclaiming: “Pray to Saami for Sammy” (Pray to the Lord for Sammy) and thronged temples in Tamil Nadu to pray for a West Indian victory. The West Indian captain seems to have become a rage among the womenfolk too, with many ladies in Chennai visiting the Kapaleeshwar Temple in Myalpore with posters reading “Maamis for Sammy!” The youth stuck to slogans of “Bleed Maroon”.
Poes Garden wore a festive look as Amma did a cartwheel after the last Lankan wicket fell. “Whew, Lankans lifting the cup would have been painful for Indians but traumatic for Tamizhians and me, di. Today is such a joyous day for Tamil Nadu,” she squealed before jumping into the air to high-five close aide, Shashikala. The TN Government has announced a cash reward of INR 1 lakh to each of the West Indian cricketers with an incremental Rs.50,000 for those with Indian ancestry.
The West Indian cricketers will be paraded on an open-roof bus through the streets of Chennai so that fans can catch glimpses of their heroes. Later, some of the West Indian cricketers will attend a party hosted by cricketer Balaji at his Triplicane residence while some others including Sunil Narine will proceed to Tirupati to pay respects to Lord Balaji. Ashwin has also invited the team to his Mylapore residence in the evening to have some light snacks, followed by a carrom match.
Already, Narine, Samuels and Pollard fan clubs are mushrooming across the state. Says Narayan Manipal, an ardent Indian cricket fan who has been referring to himself as Narine Mannypaul, “Well, what’s not Indian about this West Indian cricket team? Ravi, Sunil, Badree, Sammy… plus Gayle, who can surely be considered as Bangalore’s adopted son. First, they trounced Australia, who was responsible for our exit from the tournament. Then Sri Lanka; How many times have the Lankans let us down when we depended on them? The West Indians have avenged the Indians’ trauma of being let down by Sri Lankans! Alright, I’ve gotta go light up some rockets! Cya!”
Indian cricketers were also delighted by the victory, with Suresh Raina tweeting “Take that, besharam Sri Lanka and Australia!” before clarifying that his nephew had tweeted it.