By Pankaj Yadav
Roads and streets in India will be deserted, while markets and shopping malls look forward to having little or no customers, as Indians are set to take the day off in anticipation of what’s to come at 2:30pm on Wednesday.
However, pubs, coffee shops, hotels and restaurants will be beaming with activity as an illustrious Cricket World Cup Semi-Final against Pakistan is to begin at this hour in India’s northern town of Mohali.
This is the first time the two teams are clashing after their last encounter in November 2007.
The 26 November Mumbai terror attacks in the following year spoiled bilateral ties between the neighbouring states, as India blamed the attacks on Islamabad.
Cricketing ties too suffered as a result, with the game almost considered a religion among fans on both sides of the border.
Following their separation in 1947, any cricket encounter between the two countries has seen a rival supporter frenzy.
The enthusiastic audience from both sides further adds voltage to the electrifying game of cricket.
Meanwhile, unprecedented security arrangements have been made in and around the town of Mohali, with security personnel assigned for every position around the stadium.
The security procedures include local police, anti-riot forces, commando units and federal troops. Besides these, trained bomb squads accompanied by sniffer dogs and aerial surveillance are also part of the arrangements for the highly-contested affair.