One of my closest friends is from Delhi, but the country closest to my heart is Pakistan, therefore when it comes to the game of cricket, I want that the Cricket World Cup be lifted by nobody else but by Boom Boom Man. Sorry dost, I do not mean to imply like Brutus to Caesar ‘it’s not that I love you less, but I love Rome more’, but simply that I would prefer that you stay away from the world cup, Ms. Tripathi
If there is only one thing Gora Sahib did correctly, it has to be the game of cricket. It is popularly believed that cricket evolved from a sport that was played by the house of King Edward I in the 1300s. It was played on low sheep pastures and the batsman’s job was to defend the sheep fence gate. Hence, I assume, the shape of the wicket and the bales that need to be defended in the modern day game.
The game has managed to survive for more than half-a-millennium, but then so has the English monarchy, making it one of the older games in the sports arena. My research lead me to believe that baseball brings its seeds from an, ‘old English game of rounder’s and its cousin, the more formal and genteel game of cricket.’ Ah, cricket is a formal game, no wonder high tea with biscuits and cucumber sandwiches partners well with it.
Come this world cup I decided to watch a match with Ritu over a cup of tea and some homemade French biscuits, ‘hey, I think we‘ve come to a point in our dosti where we can watch a cricket match together, say what?’
‘Maybe, which country yours or mine?’ she asked.
‘You tell me?’
‘I’m thinking India, maybe Pakistan, nahi yaar, neither. What do you think?’
I thought for a moment, and out came, ‘let’s watch India play South Africa,’ or ‘maybe not’ said the righteous little lady sitting on my right shoulder, ‘what if it compromises your friendship,’. I looked sharply to my right no one there, and then came a familiar voice from the left, ‘duplicity, the art of true friendship, learn it and exploit it, it’ll do you good. You must watch it together because India will lose giving you the opportunity to do splits in your head with a forlorn expression.’
I hesitantly listened to the voice on the left, I pondered for a moment and smoothly said, ‘Dear friend Ritu, because I consider you my friend I will graciously chose to watch an Indian match with you. I promise to enjoy it. ‘
Come Friday night, I packed my little bag and snaked to Ritu’s door. Once settled on the comfortable lounger I munched papri, nibbled French biscuits, sipped a delicious cup of tea and waited for my friend to lose steam, sounds devious and fun. ‘No guilt, all’s fair in love, war and sports,’ was my mantra for the night.
Hour to game time, I tried to occupy myself with magazines, B4U, CNN, the tsunami, idle chitchat, but nothing worked. Gnawing guilt, the voice on my right and the devil inside kept playing a game of hide and go seek. Who do I pay heed to? I felt like Hamlet.
Come game time my mind was consumed, so many conflicting thoughts, I felt like I was in an old Indian movie where the camera is spinning around the protagonist and there are loud conflicting voices coming from all directions. I needed some air.
Once outside I took some deep breaths and walked towards the edge of the railing. The view was mesmerizing, my friend’s house sits atop a hill and the whole city sparkled from below. The quiet night, absolute silence and then I heard it, the sound that gave me clarity, the solo of a little cricket, a brief pause, and then another solo cricket song from a different direction. The two then started croaking a duet! I had my answer.
My dear friend I need to leave. The simple fact, I want Pakistan to win the World Cup, it gives me real pleasure. I enjoy seeing India lose a cricket match, but it gives me real displeasure to see you sad, this is a contradiction in emotion but no hypocrisy, no duplicity. Therefore let me walk away lighthearted with a smile in my heart and joy sans guilt.
The next Pakistan match is tomorrow. I have learnt my lesson, I shall enjoy this one with a group of Pakistanis, no guilt, no complicated emotions, just one Nazia Hassan song — Dil bolay boom, boom.
Bisma Tirmizi is a writer based in Las Vegas
The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.