Thursday, March 31, 2011

Courage, Peace and Truth

Yesterday was an incredible experience that I just had to share on the MBA Program Blog. When else will I have the chance to cheer with 60 passionate Indians for their team as they take on their top rival, before the sun even comes up?
On Wednesday morning, March 30, India played Pakistan in the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup. The Dean, wanting to continue to promote the incredible international reach and interest of the two year mba program of Kelley, reserved a massive lecture hall with four screens for the entire day, from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., just for Kelley students who wanted to watch the match. And let me tell you – there were plenty of Kelley students, faculty and staff who wanted to watch India soar to victory!
A good friend of mine picked me up at 5:45 a.m., wearing my light blue shirt (as I was told not to wear any green – but blue was the way to go). After we parked in the parking garage and were walking through the silent but lit school, I expected to find maybe ten sleepy students watching the screen. However, when we entered the room, we found almost 60 wide-awake students (mostly Indian) cheering on excitedly India’s batting, first up for the day. The room smelled delicious, as someone had bought Samosas to share for breakfast. We took our seats in the dark room, sunrise still two hours away, and Aakarsh carefully explained the rules and gods (As they call their best players) to me. This of course my first cricket experience of any kind, except for 1st grade when our gym teacher tried to teach us (which I learned yesterday was COMPLETELY wrong). Thanks Mr. Timmers.
Breakfast from Panera, also sponsored by the Dead’s office, showed up at 8 a.m. and was quickly gobbled up but the hungry fans.
I learned to hold my breath in a pop-fly, cheer wildly when we nailed four points and laugh hysterically at the opponents when they made an error. I was so disappointed when I had to leave for my only class for the day; but 90 minutes later I was back in the room to see the crowd had almost doubled to watch India bowl and field. The Dean made a couple appearances to check the score, the head of faculty poked his head in to see the excitement, and many staff and faculty kept coming in to see what was going on – as our cheering and jumping could most certainly be heard throughout all the MBA offices on the floor below. I made sure to get the India flag, representing Courage, Peace and Truth painted on my face and my fingers, so I could do my best to be a true Desi. At one point my American friend Dan came in; and to my amazement I was able to explain the entire game, rule for rule, to him with pretty good accuracy!
When India caught the final ball for the last wicket from Pakistan, the room erupted in jumping, hugging dancing and cheering. Songs and chants burst from all over the room and excitement filled the air. It was marvelous.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be amazed if any other top ranked MBA colleges did all of this for its Indian and Pakistani students. What a fun, incredible opportunity, to watch the biggest sport in the country, in the biggest tournament, with some of its biggest fans and my best friends here. Kelley promotes time and time again how international and global its mindset and masters of business administrations programs are – and in practice, I have yet to be disappointed. So India’s going to the final match now against Sri Lanka on Saturday; and of course, the Dean is sponsoring another viewing and breakfast. I’ll see you on the pitch.

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