Vaibhav Vats was ten years old when the 1996 cricket World Cup was held in South Asia. Celebrations erupted after India beat Pakistan and he saw the local confectioner give away his sweets for free. But the euphoria soon turned to gloom as the Indian team subsequently crashed out in the semi-final. It remained one of the defining memories of his childhood.
Fifteen years later, in 2011, when the World Cup returns to the subcontinent, Vaibhav decides to travel across Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India, following the Cup. It is a journey both personal and exploratory, to understand what the game means in his own life and what it means to more than a billion people. Through six breathless weeks, he shadows the tournament from its exhilarating opening in Dhaka to the last ball at the Wankhede Stadium. In between, he spends time with oddballs and followers of all hues, such as a Sinhalese coach in Tamil-dominated Trincomalee and cricket aficionados at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur. And finally, he witnesses the Indian team, as if propelled by destiny, claim the greatest victory of all.
Anecdotal and incisive, Triumph in Bombay is an extraordinary travelogue that announces the arrival of a brilliant new talent.