As soon as the match ended, I stepped out to have a cup of tea at a stall near my house. I noticed two middle-aged men hugging each other in joy, their eyes all wet. I asked them why they were crying. One of them, a rickshaw-puller by profession, answered that it had been their expression of joy due to Bangladesh's Test victory at Harare on Monday.
There were other rickshaw-pullers sitting in that tea stall whose eyes were moist. For them, this victory meant a lot. It will act as a tonic for them amid the critical situation which Bangladesh as a nation is in at present. The expressions of these daily laborers are the same for all Bangladeshis.
Sport's ability to uplift the spirit can never be underestimated. Its ability to make a nation wake up from periods of depression is always critical. These expressions were desperately needed in Bangladesh. These were the expression which Bangladesh badly needed after last week's horrifying Savar tragedy.
The nation still hadn't recovered from a shoddy defeat to Zimbabwe in the first Test when it suffered another hefty blow when in Savar an eight-storeyed building suddenly collapsed to give rise to one of the most tragic incidents since the fire tragedy at Nimtali in 2010. Almost 400 people died while more than 2000 have been reported injured. The atmosphere in Bangladesh turned heavy by the corpses and the weeping of the affected families. One can only notice unhappy souls in every corner of Bangladesh. The country needed a reason to smile.
The Tigers are closely related to the heart and soul of each and every Bangladesh citizen. While the politicians continue to frustrate them, it is their favorite sons who bring them moments to cherish. When Bangladesh had flown to Zimbabwe after a successful tour of Sri Lanka, the mood of the fans was cheerfully confident. For the first time, a very confident Bangladesh unit was traveling to Zimbabwe and it was expected that the Tigers would not only break the Harare jinx but will also win the series in style.
But reality is very harsh. What the fans witnessed in the first Test was a shocking picture. Brendan Taylor unleashed a patient and responsible presence at the crease to uplift his team's dying spirits while the Bangladeshi batsmen scripted one of the gloomiest batting displays to leave the fans and critics speechless. Neither was there any resolve nor any sign of responsibility that could do justice to their recent show in Sri Lanka. Zimbabwe thrashed Bangladesh by a heavy 335 runs to lift themselves in Bangladesh's stature.
In the second Test, Zimbabwe were seeking a rare series win while Bangladesh were trying to find their feet on the ground on which their feet had slipped. After being sent in to bat, the Tigers didn't have a great start. That same old craziness visited again as wickets were gifted cheaply. A moment of resolve was needed and Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim rose to the occasion with a solid 100-run stand on which rookie Nasir Hossain capitalized with his carefree aggression.
These three musketeers delivered the goods again in the second innings when Bangladesh were in the soup due to some mind-boggling umpiring. One witnessed a determined Bangladeshi unit - a lot more responsible than the previous Test - in the second match. If they were down and dusted in the first Test then they bounced back to level the series with a commanding effort. As usual, adversity had motivated the team.
Bangladeshis at present are sad and gloomy due to the horrendous Savar tragedy. For the last six days or so, they have almost forgotten to smile. An ugly depression has devoured the nation. On a serious note, the people needed a boost to know what it was to smile again. This victory was much needed for Bangladesh and its people.