Last week was one of the rare extended periods of time when I generally stayed away from news channels and news websites, and of course from a lot of my school work – blame the Cricket World Cup craze. I was like, “wait, what ? Why are hundreds of people finding my blog looking for something to read on a burned Koran ? Oh, here it is, Pastor Jones burned the Quran and there are riots in Afghanistan.” I’m saving this story for another time.
I hadn’t really followed or watched cricket for years now, but when India and Pakistan were playing in the World Cup semifinals, the frenzy and excitement among South Asians was as high as it could get – and some of it got to me too. I can only imagine the craze back in India and Pakistan for the world cup and this match. Indian and Pakistani media coverage was pathetically silly, stupid and biased, at least from the reports I saw on YouTube shared on Facebook. Prime-ministers from the rival countries were to watch the game together !
So much so, a South Asian student organization in my school arranged a screening of the semifinal game on a big screen and I did not let go of this opportunity. Indians had an amazing time cheering every dropped catch ( Yes, Pakistan dropped as many as four catches that would have got Sachin Tendulkar, the best batsman in the world, out) and every boundary or a six, and then later on, at every Pakistani wicket that fell when India were bowling. Pakistani wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal was a butt of jokes too after his horrendous performance, dropping more catches than he caught. His pickup line ? “Where can I drop you ?”
When Pakistan finally lost the match to India, I did not lose any opportunity to have fun rubbing it into my Pakistani friends’ faces. Most of them wouldn’t really care, but these were abnormal times. And many of them would only say that the match was fixed. Losers! :-)
For most of my Pakistani friends (and I’m sure this is true the other way round too), regardless of whether Pakistan can win the World Cup or not, India should not win it. Not surprisingly, there were fervent Pakistani prayers that India lose the final against Sri Lanka.
I went to see the Final match screening on a big screen with a bunch of die-hard Indian fans this time, and it was a dream come-true for them when Indians were world champions after a wait of twenty-eight years. The celebrations went on for days, and they still cannot stop gloating about it on Facebook.
Pakistani captain Afridi was large-hearted and accepted defeat, saying India played better. He also won many Indian hearts when he questioned Pakistani special rivalry with India in cricket pointing out how Pakistanis watch Indian television serials, how Indian movies play in their theaters, how they adore Indian movie stars, eat Indian food, and yet oppose India this way.
And then, again, Pakistani media was at its best – the Final match was fixed, they said, only to have angry and abusive comments by Indian fans on such reports.
I enjoyed myself the whole time from the company of the people I was with and the frenzy around, not to mention by poking fun at friends whose favored teams lost.
We now have a billion people celebrating on one side and so is their diaspora, and millions on the other side of the border mourning. Both of these over eleven people who rotated a piece of wood in a park somewhere.
I hope the hundreds of millions of Indians who sleep hungry and live on less than a dollar a day had a real reason to celebrate, and the millions of Pakistanis in poverty had a real reason to mourn.