Mumbai erupts to celebrate ‘Team India festival’ with T-20 World Cup victors

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Mumbai erupts to celebrate ‘Team India festival’ with T-20 World Cup victors

Mumbai: Lakhs of Mumbaikars gushed into a spirited celebration of ‘Team India festival’ along with the beaming Men In Blue T-20 World Cup victors here on Thursday evening.

Much before the team members landed in a Vistara flight from Delhi, thousands of people had gathered outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), the entire road from the airport to Nariman Point and also the 1.8-km long route to the Wankhede Stadium.

As the clock ticked off, the crowds swelled into lakhs, lining up outside the CSMIA and on both sides of the road, with a sea of humanity at Marine Drive, barely a few feet away from the Arabian Sea shore, waving the Indian Tricolour, carrying congratulatory placards for Team India or one of their favourite icons.

The mood of the people was as bright as the skies were somber with dark monsoon clouds threatening to bathe the crowds anytime but fortunately, there were only intermittent light showers that did not actually dampen the public enthusiasm.

The crowd chanted slogans like ‘We Love You, Team India’, ‘Team India Zindabad’, ‘Mumbaicha Raja, Rohit Sharma’, and more at various locations en route, marking the joy as the World Cup came to India after a gap of 17 years after 2007.

The celebrations uncorked right at the CSMIA tarmac with a Guard of Honour at the airside, and Follow Me cars escorting the team aircraft to the airport terminal stand, where it was accorded a special ‘Water Salute’.

Thereafter, the team and accompanying officials alighted from the aircraft, quickly walked through the Indian Tricolour draped aerobridge, as they were greeted with a floral cascade showered on them in the arrival corridor.

The CSMIA had thoughtfully rolled out the red carpet for the Men In Blue, followed by a celebratory cake-cutting ceremony at the terminal adorned with shades of the tricolour.

The team members rode in beautifully decorated buggies to two waiting gleaming white buses, and outside there was the deafening cacophony of the traditional Maharashtrian dhol-tasha, tutari and lezim, making the arrival truly grand and a sight of national pride and happiness.

The CSMIA’s top management felicitated the team members and escorted them with thunderous cheers outside, where more people were waiting to give them a grand reception and hearty welcome.

As the crowd kept surging, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde spoke to the Commissioner of Police Vivek Phansalkar to ensure full precautions, while Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis appealed to all people to exercise restraint amid their excitement and fervour.

The buses, with a long retinue of police pilot cars, side-cars and tailing cars, zoomed out of the airport, took a left turn to the Western Express Highway and at a medium speed drove along towards Bandra.

They were followed by a long queue of cars and SUVs carrying the equally excited paparazzi, many camera persons emerging out of the roof-windows to catch every movement as the buses proceeded towards Nariman Point.

On both sides, hordes of fans screamed, shouted, danced, jumped and on catching a glimpse, lustily cheered their heroes arriving after conquering the T-20 Tourney to bag the coveted World Cup Trophy.

The buses rolled onto the iconic Bandra Worli Sea Link, almost invisible against a grey cloudy backdrop and after traversing it, proceeded towards Nariman Point.

Team India heroes stepped out of the buses and hopped onto the open deck special bus brought from Gujarat for the victory rally, sporting the teams colours, some photos of the players and the trophy printed and proclamations of ‘Champions 2024’, as the wild crowds on both sides of the picturesque Marine Drive roared an incessant thunderous welcome to their icons.

En route, the team-members also reciprocated in equal measure.

Captain Rohit Sharma was seen punching in the skies often, hugging his co-players, embracing Coach Rahul Dravid, some of the other players, though a tad weary, waved the Indian Tricolour, smiled, waved and expressed their own joy at bagging the World Cup.

Some of the heroes on the upper deck included Jay Shah, Rajeev Shukla, Hardik Pandya holding aloft the trophy for the benefit of the raring crowd, who took a ‘darshan’ and clicked selfies/videos.

As a veil of darkness enveloped the road, it was time for mobile torches, flashlights and even the streetlights adding to the excitement of colours, and appearing like a horde of fireflies interrupted by the flashing lights of the police vehicles.

After the short and leisurely, 1.8-km long ride, the bus finally reached the gates of the Wankhede Stadium, for another jamboree with the venue again chock-full of exhilarated fans and cricket-lovers.

 


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