Maximum City, Maximum Love: Mumbai halts to salute Team India''s Victory Parade

The Wankhede Stadium here was thrown open to fans, who filled up the stands within minutes to celebrate the Indian cricket team's title triumph last Saturday

Mumbai: An ocean of humanity greeted the victory parade of the T20 World Cup winning Indian team in South Mumbai's Marine Drive as thousands of passionate fans gathered to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars, bringing the traffic to a complete standstill.

The open bus parade, which was delayed by more than a couple of hours, started from the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in Nariman Point post 7:30pm and went till the Wankhede Stadium.

The distance is covered usually in five minutes but it took more than one-and-a-half-hour as the players savoured the evening of their lives all drenched not in rain but unadulterated love from their die-hard fans.

In 2007, Rohit Sharma was the youngest member of the Mahendra Singh Dhoni's epoch-making squad and now at 37, for him to lead his T20 World Champion Indian cricket team on a victory parade must have given him a sense of deja vu.

He is now the oldest member of this current team, 'been there and done that' and even as the faces around him changed in more than one-and-a-half decades, the now-retired Indian T20 skipper remained a constant for all these years.

As the bus passed through the sea of humans, his mind must have travelled back to that September morning in 2007 when Mumbai was as drenched as it was this Thursday evening.

Chants of "Mumbaicha Raja, Rohit Sharma" (Who's the King of Mumbai? Rohit Sharma) reverberated through the roads.

"This (crowd) tells that the desperation we had to win was similar to the desperation which the fans had. The win has brought smiles on faces of crores of people. This is a special team and this trophy belongs to the nation," Rohit said while addressing the fans inside the stadium.

Then there was Hardik Pandya, who probably found organic acceptance, after a stellar T20 World Cup campaign as he was the first to lift the trophy and show it to the fans.

The once jeered 'Mumbai Indian' was the cheered 'Indian' in Mumbai.

The 'Maximum City' was ready to shower 'Maximum Love' for the colourful 'Baroda Bomber', who has made Mumbai his home.

He craved for validation and unconditional love and Mumbai was now ready to embrace him once again.

May be the those drops from the heaven were Mumbai's collective apology for being boorish towards Pandya during the IPL a few months ago.

The players lapped up, the frenzy, mass euphoria for a nation that loves its cricketers way more than the game itself.

A glimpse of Virat Kohli was what many would have longed for.

'Bekararon ki Dawa Ek Nazar, Ek Nazar', Majrooh Sultanpuri would have penned for all those who have travelled from Virar to Thane and even from other parts of the country just to feel the pulse.

The King didn't disappoint. In fact, he pulled skipper along with Suryakumar Yadav and Axar Patel to dance to the beats of famous Nashik Dholwalas at Wankhede soon after they arrived at the ground.

Earlier, the Indian team could only fly from New Delhi around 3:42 pm after a breakfast meeting with the Indian PM Narendra Modi, having returned from Barbados in the wee hours.

The Wankhede Stadium here was thrown open to fans, who filled up the stands within minutes to celebrate the team's title triumph.

After landing in the city, their aircraft got the famous 'Water Salute' at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport's Terminal 2.

The players walked out of the airport with a sea of fans and media waiting for them for several hours.

Meanwhile, as the gates closed amid intermittent rain, extreme humidity and chaos of several thousand people remained fixated to their seats despite lack of arrangement for food and water.

The DJ kept entertaining fans with songs of all genres and at one instance it felt like Wankhede was hosting a rain-dance party with the stadium's speakers blurting out Vengaboys' party hit 'To Brazil' and country's unofficial sports anthem "Chak de India".

Soon after, Wankhede came alive with its customary chants of "Sachin-Sachin" followed by "Mumbaicha Raja, Rohit Sharma!" and "India- India".

( Source : PTI )
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