The streets of Bandra are empty this Sunday evening. A vehicle passes us by on Hill Road every thirty seconds at most. It is possible to walk in the middle of the road right now.
I look at you. You’re equally puzzled.
“The roads are so empty.”
“Its a Sunday evening.”
“This makes no sense.”
I continue to slurp on an icecream cone from Snowbite, trying to wrap my head around this phenomenon. A week earlier, it had been pandemonium at this very hour, on this very stretch of road. Not a car had moved while hands pressed horns urgently — as if that was going to help.
“Is there anything happening today?”
“Is it a-“
“There’s a cricket match against Pakistan today.”
“Yes, it was supposed to start at 19:30.”
“Aahhh…. One match can make such a difference?”
“They haven’t played each other for two years now.”
“There’s also Manchester United against Liverpool. And Barcelona against Real Madrid. Later in the night, there’s Inter Milan against Juventus. Then there’s an F1 race too, early morning.”
For now though, we walked in the silence brought about by the cricket match. We could hear sounds from televisions intermittently, as we walked into a side street. There were no sounds of cheering. It seemed somebody had paused public life in the city.
National Restaurant had also been empty. We walked to an empty table without having to hunt for one or even share. The auto driver had assured us of reaching within 5 minutes — something we had not fully grasped. Now, it all made sense.
India lost the match comprehensively — outthought and outplayed. Pakistan seemed more present. This is not about the match, though.
By now, we were home. I said goodbye and started off to my own. The rest of the night would be another story in itself. Reading the news next morning, it seemed that we had lost more than just a match.
We were losing our way home.