“Pahado ka koi bharosa nahi…yahaan kabhi baarish hain toh kabhi dhoop. (In the mountains the weather can be very fickle. It can suddenly rain and then there can be sunshine).” Inder Thakur, a cab driver in Mcleodganj, sums up the inherent weather pattern of the mountains.
Like most locals, Thakur is deeply superstitious and loves his cricket. He is keeping his fingers crossed that the rains don’t play a spoilsport in the upcoming India-South Africa ODI in Dharamsala. He is still annoyed that the last international match here — incidentally a T20I between India and South Africa — was rained out in September last year.
“Do you know why that match was abandoned?” he asks. The reason, he admits, is because the HPCA officials did not offer prayers at the Indru Nag Temple before that match. This temple gets its name from the Snake (Nag) king, and is located on a plateau that’s now been converted into a paragliding site. Indru Nag is a local deity with a cult-like following in this neck of the woods. It is widely believed that if a person has the blessings of this deity, his wishes will get fulfilled.
Refusing to take any chances with the weather this time around, HPCA officials offered their prayers here last week. “Yes, some of our officials have offered players at the Indru Nag Temple last week. Since the last match in Dharamsala was abandoned because of heavy rain, we didn’t want to take a chance now,” HPCA secretary Sumit Sharma told The Indian Express.
There’s another interesting anecdote attached to this tradition, which is now a part of local folklore. Just days before the first international match was to be played at this venue — India vs England ODI in 2013 — the state association officials rushed to their local deity. They were rewarded with a full match without interruptions. But it’s believed that barring the periphery of the stadium premises, there was a heavy downpour that washed out Dharamsala and parts of Dharamkot and Mcleodganj, locals say.
HPCA officials have a reason to be worried because such erratic weather patterns are increasingly proving to be a headache for the BCCI in their frenetic bid to schedule matches in a shrinking international window. But like Inder, the rest of the people at this mountainous venue will now believe that the weather gods will not scupper their plans on Thursday.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines