Prayers, plays, paintings for an Indian win at Mohali

New Delhi: Pujas for divine intervention, street plays depicting a `Tsunami` to cause destruction and portrayal of the men in blue as Indian mythological icons vanquishing rivals on Tuesday reflected the country`s hope for a win in the epic India-Pakistan World Cup cricket semi-final.

The fervent desire to savour an Indian victory in the blockbuster match was a common thread, as the cricket frenzy on the eve of tomorrow`s tense showdown in Mohali reached a crescendo.

Normal life appeared to be on the verge of coming to a halt with millions of people preparing to watch the epic day-night encounter on Television sets--one of cricket`s most intense rivalries.

Several firms have declared a half-day holiday, while others have set up giant screens in their offices to allow employees to watch the match in the office.

To strengthen their hopes with the power of prayers, cricket enthusiasts in Mysore offered puja and performed rituals at Anjaneya Swamy Temple.

A painter in Jabalpur has painted master blaster Sachin Tendulkar as Lord Krishna and explosive batsman Virender Sehwag as Arjun.

"We have portrayed sachin as Krishna and Sehwag as Arjun. The way those two fought Mahaabharat will be how these two will win us the world cup," he said.

In Mathura, organisers of a puja ritual said 51 Kg of milk, different variety of sandalwood paste, Kumkum and one mound of flowers were used to worship holy river Yamuna for the victory of Indian cricket team.

Such a ritual is common among contestants in this holy town fighting elections.

"We are sure that due to grace of Yamuna Ji India would win," said a senior member of a group calling itself Mathurastha Sarva Karma Panditya.

However, not everyone in India is hoping for a victory over Pakistan.

From Internet networking sites to social gatherings, a section of people in Kashmir valley openly acknowledge their support for the neighbouring country.

At the quarter-final stage, Pakistan`s thrashing win over the West Indies was celebrated with fire crackers but India`s win against Australia passed without a murmur.

In the Valley, the Army has also set up a giant television screen in Taiyan, a village of 2,500.

Not wanting to miss the opportunity to watch the cricket encounter from the comfort of their homes, several people in the Information Technology(IT) industry have applied for leave forcing their bosses to work out staffing patterns in the 24x7 industry.

"Everything is lined up. I have got my set of friends. TV is ready, beer is ready, just got to chillout on a summer afternoon and watch the game. It is epic. It is India, Pakistan. It doesn`t get bigger than that," one IT professional in Chennai said.