Delirious scenes were seen across Kolkata as the city's cricket-crazy crowd went wild in widespread celebration late into the night moments after India's historic World Cup triumph in Mumbai.
No sooner than Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit the winning run off Nuwan Kulasekara for a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka who got past India in an eventful 1996 World Cup semi-finals in Kolkata, euphoric scenes followed across the city.
In a nation where cricket is considered as religion, the triumph by Dhoni's army became the ultimate joy for everybody across Kolkata and India alike.
Thousands of fans wearing Team India jersey waving tricolours flocked to the three-kilometre Park Street stretch, city's most popular address and celebrations continued while similar scenes were seen across the city and elsewhere.
Emotional scenes across the country
Be it Dalhousie, the city's central business district, or Salt Lake, the IT hub, or Esplanade, the city's heart, or Shyambazar in North or Behala, cricketing fraternity's most popular address with the residence of Sourav Ganguly, frenzied scenes ticked off all across.
Ganguly might be busy with his TV commentary committments, but the locality of his residence went into the celebration mode as soon as the victory became clear.
At City Centre mall, Salt Lake, where a gigantic screen was put up more than thousand people broke into dance and honked horns as partying began.
While there were ecstatic celebrations, emotional scenes too were seen with many fans breaking into tears after India's second World Cup win after about three decades.
Photograph: Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia
Celebration has just begun
With cheers of 'India...India...Vande Mataram... Jai Ho...and De Ghumake...youngsters came out holding tricolors high, a mark of realisation of a billion dreams.
"Many of us were either not born in 1983 or were not grown up to watch Kapil Dev win in the West Indies. We have grown up hearing the Kapil Devil's story from our parents.
"We waited through years, and six editions of World Cups passed by. Sourav Ganguly's team had come to a sniffing distance in 2003. But the moment has come now," 18-year-old Neha Keshri, accompanied by her jubilant friends, said in Behala.
"Celebration has just begun... It will go on and on. We will not stop. We have so far heard the stories now we will celebrate and live on with this moment," said Bijay Dubey, a 33-year-old fan in Tollygunge.
He further said it was the revenge of 1996 semi-final that was etched on his memory after India were declared losers following crowd violence in their clash against eventual winners Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens.
"The scene is still fresh in our minds. We wanted to forget that moment for long and the moment has arrived. Life has come a full circle. We win. Lanka lose," said Dubey.
"The way Dhoni soaked in the pressure and led from the front gives an enormous feeling. We are all proud Indians," he shouted.
Photograph: Manu Shankar
'Eager to see India win the World Cup'
There were some who observed fast and vowed not to touch water till the last ball.
"We were all eager to see India win the World Cup. We were observing fast and did not even touch water till the last ball. It really was memorable for Team India and all of us here," 26-year-old Tapas Mahajan, who along with his sister, who observed fast, said.
Earlier, for the second time in the week, Kolkata witnessed near-empty roads with people glued to TV sets while die-hard fans offered prayers for India's World Cup final victory over Sri Lanka in Mumbai.
The now-or-never feeling caught up with everyone as they believed this was India's best chance to repeat the feat of 'Kapil's Devils' 28 years ago.
Firecrackers, Tri-colour balloons, India jerseys and flags -- all these items were a sold out while in all the localities of the city, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men adored the walls with flower garlands with the replica of World Cup.
A flag-seller in Jagu Bazar area of the city said he sold about 50,000 Tri-colours since morning and has run out of stock.
Traffic jams everywhere
Traffic went for a toss in several parts of the capital as large number of people came out in their vehicles.
The traffic was choked especially in areas near India Gate and Connaught Place. The most affected stretches were Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Tilak Marg, Janpath and Vikas Marg.
Fans including women and children were waving tricolours and showing miniatures of the World Cup at ITO.
People also came out of their vehicles to shake hands with strangers to celebrate the victory.
Photograph: Saisuresh Sivaswamy