On Monday, work took a back seat but for a good reason. Cricket crazy Delhi residents rushed home to watch the grand finale between India and Pakistan.
By 4 pm, office-goers and college students made a beeline for bus stands, metro stations and parking lots. The roads were filled with people anxiously discussing the outcome of the final match.
Those who took a half-day leave from office did not face any hostility from their bosses who were happy enough to oblige. “Today I knew lying or giving some lame excuse would not work, so I clearly told my boss that I wanted to leave early to watch the match. Surprisingly he gladly agreed and even discussed our team’s chances of winning,” said Akshay Chandra, an investment banker.
For Delhi University (DU) students it was a day to paint their faces in national colors and cheer for India. Many bunked classes and went in large groups to watch the match at pubs and places where large screens were put up for the occasion.
“This is like the holy grail of all cricket matches, I would not miss it for the world. My friends and I bunked classes and came to PVR Priya to watch the match on big screen,” said Anuj Sachdev, a DU student. At Priya, every time the Indian team fired a six or a four or took a wicket, the crowd of almost 1000 people roared and shouted slogans cheering the team.
Even the Babudom was caught in the cricket frenzy. Most government offices were empty by five in the evening. “My colleagues were anxious to get home. Most of them rushed off from the office by five. Even our neighboring offices were empty by five,” said Mausam Chakrabarti, a government employee.
Some people complained of getting delayed and missing the Indian innings because the traffic on the roads was affected due to the match. “I missed the starting of the first innings as there was a lot of traffic on Delhi Gate and ITO. I have not seen so many vehicles on road at this time of the day,” said Rohit Raj a chartered accountant.