Chandigarh, March 29 : To be waved across the stadium on each brilliant shot and every catch Indian players make, the tricolour is the cricket enthusiasts' best buy as the cricket fever reaches its zenith for the India-Pakistan duel in the 2011 World Cup semi-final.
In all the excitement of the roaring crowds, the Indian flag will dominate the proceedings - if the sale of flags in and around Chandigarh and Mohali is any indicator.
People are buying the national flags from the two main outlets of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in the city, besides other small-scale shops that have mushroomed, mainly in the suburb areas, for the crucial match.
"We keep a stock of Indian flags throughout the year. But the World Cup fever is on and it has increased the sales," T. P. Gupta, manager of Kshetriya Punjab Khadi Mandal store in Sector 22 here, told IANS.
"We have also observed a sudden spurt in the number of people visiting our store and making enquiry about the availability of flags," he added.
"The World Cup is a kind of national festival for ardent cricket lovers. So we have got additional stocks of flags. We are expecting a brisk business, especially on Wednesday," Gupta said.
"Flags of different sizes, ranging from Rs. 175 to Rs. 900, are available at the Khadi stores. Made at Hoogly (near Kolkata), Bangalore and Nanded Sahib (Maharashtra), these flags are hand spun, hand woven - a pure cotton khadi cloth," Gupta pointed out.
On the other hand, for people who want to buy flags at comparatively economical rates, options are available at Burail and Attawa villages.
"People are painting these flags at homes and selling them. I have bought nearly 200 flags from Burail and I would send them outside the stadium on the match day," said Kewal Kumar, a roadside hawker.
"Whenever there is a match featuring India, I do brisk business," he added.
The semi-final clash has also come up as an earning option for students.
Said Siddhartha Sharma, a student of the Government College of Art: "We are making tattoos and painting national flags on the faces and bodies of young cricket fans outside Hotel Taj (where India and Pakistan teams are staying) and at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium in Mohali, 10 km from here.
"We have earned a few hundred rupees on the day the Indian team arrived in Chandigarh," said Sharma.
Where people trying to make a quick buck are hopeful, the buyers are equally excited.
"The Indian flag is one thing that says it all. It conveys all the good wishes and it also replicates the excitement that we feel while the Indian team plays its best," said Prashant Jain, a diehard fan of the game and team.
"I and my friends have bought the flags already and we will also get the tattoos done on our faces soon," he added.
"We will carry the flags on our bodies and faces in form of tattoos. After all, this is a historic match," said Kanika Kapoor, an MCM DAV student who will be watching the match with a group of her friends.(IANS)
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