On 15th February 2015, gazing at the crowd emerged outside the Adelaide Oval, it was so hard control thoughts raising in my mind. One after another, with every new face I saw, my mind diverted to a new thought, new reason or a new opinion. It was all about blues and the greens. Indeed, the blues were majority over greens but every soul there was just for love of cricket. However, along with love for the sport, I did sense hatred, such hatred could never be compromised by love, that cannot be understood in the shed of humanity or rather any other good factor.
Every slogan was responded with another and sounds roared outside oval just like warning that a war is about begin. We walked from east gate to wast gate as we were waiting for gates to open. Gliding between groups, we could easily figure out the aggression, the heat and the so called patriotism for their own country. It wasn’t even hard to notice the families with oldies and kids holding flags of their respective country or as I say flags of hopes. Hope, that was driving everyone through the scorching heat, getting into crowd and pushing theirs tonsils to the limit so that everyone hears the name of their country. The passion either for the sport or the patriotism for the country was subdued but just looking at the opponent’s crowd.
I was in my casual plain clothes so it was hard to figure out what nationality I belong to as I am not a big fan of face paints or any another mockery to represent love for my country or cricket. My better half, Shaily and other few other friends and she being one crazy fan of Sachin, she had temporary tattooed ‘SACHINIST’ in her neck to portray the love her favourite sportsman. She also did carry our pride along, The Indian Flag.
By now, you would have known that this blog is written by an Indian and if you are a Pakistani, you would surely assume that I probably would be biased in the further content of the blog. I can safely say that I am be biased as these are merely the facts that I faced on the game day or more than facts, my thoughts. But please consider my love for India, because I cannot see my country losing in any game.
As I was taking about flags, I do recall something very strange. A man standing in left corner of the east gate eating barbecue glazed potato chips so fast as if someone else will claim them and he will be left hungry for the rest of the day. His love for chips was justified with the size of his belly and leaving the top three shirt buttons open was enough for me to conclude that he wasn’t a local. Moreover, he was wearing denim jeans on 41 C day and I did hear him complaining to his friend about the no chilli & pepper over the chips. He was Indian as he had an indian flag over his shoulder. When he was done with the chips, was about to that leave the container right on the floor before he saw a security man observing him. He moved his head looking for a rubbish bin and found one right across the floor which was about 5 steps away. He used it to which I was very thankful. But next moment, after he was done licking all the remaining barbecue sauce from his finger, he wiped his hands with the Indian flag rushing towards the crowd he knew. He raised his voice, synchronising with the slogan and waiving the flag with his dishonesty. Now, if u are indian you might be upset, so was I. There was nothing I or you could do. I just stood their stunned and out of words.
The gates were now open and I saw people making through into the stadium and finding their spot. Each and everyone entering the stadium felt what they are about to witness is going to be history regardless that this happens every four years. Soon we were united with our friends who had hard time finding a parking spot. We made our way to the top floor to our allocated seats. While we were climbing stair, I heard humming, getting louder and louder. We haven’t yet reached the top floor and haven’t seen the ground yet. Almost out of breath, we reached the lobby and that humming sound got even more louder as we were every close to the ground. We got to our section 535, walked through the corridor following the bright light from the stadium and that humming sound. Right at the last step, I noticed that green bed where the history was about take place. Players were standing straight up facing flags and then I noticed that the humming sound was actually Pakistan’s national anthem. None of us moved from that moment until that came to an end. Right at the end of anthem, there was a roar of cheer from the fans. Within seconds, the Indian national anthem begun! My right hand got on my heart with respect and my tummy tucked in pushing my chest out with pride. Don’t ask me why!!!! But rather abrupt scene during that moment got to my attention that almost all the Pakistanis was actually seated. I was angry and shocked. I couldn’t wait for the anthem to finish so that I could cheer up so loud that all those seated would stand up with just like waking up from a horrible dream. However, my voice was not at all heard as it was dominated by the other fellow Indians. I turned with anger to walk towards my seat and the cheering hasn’t yet finished after national anthem and I saw a Pakistani man standing in the middle of other Pakistani, clapping fiercely for the national anthem and for all Indians. I looked into his eyes and we exchanged smiles. My anger was brushed away and I felt warmth, peace and respected. I am pretty sure he wanted Pakistan to win as much as any indian wanted India to win. His act gave me hope that those dumb who were disrespectful to my national anthem will learn one day. One day!!!
India has opted to bat first and game is now about to commence. R. Sharma and S.Dhavan, both inspected the pitch to their knowledge. The bowler is scrubbing the ground to make a mark so he knows where to start the run. And then goes the countdown.
Rest was history and we all know the outcome. My observation was not on hold as the game commenced but its just too much to put it in this blog. In the second innings, Pakistan had hard time to cope with Indian bowlers. Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma and Ashwin were the heroes of the evening. After fall of Shahid Afridi, there wasn’t much hope left for Pakistan. Most of the Pakistanis thought of avoiding the traffic after game and started to make the way outside.
While they were walking done to the exit, we couldn’t wait to get to the Pakistanis fan zone and say good bye. It felt really good cheering for the victory. I have lost my voice cause of shouting but the joy of winning didn’t take me let me down. I was tired and exhausted but I wanted to show them show them how much I loved India winning. Few Indian got abusive and rude out of excitement which was not called for. All I did was to smile and wished good bye. All I cared about was we won again and we will again. However, right in the middle of this drama, I noticed something that hold me back. That made me think about the impact of our acts. I saw a little girl, aged 5-8 looking at all of us. We were about 50-100 Indians at the edge Indian Fanzone. She looked confused and angry at the same time. I bet she had no clue about cricket. All she knew was that all the greens are loosing and so is she as she was wearing a green t-shirt. Her parents seemed to be much sophisticated and they did clap when India got one wicket. While we were there she did ask he dad something pointing at us and her father said something in her ear. Her reaction didn’t change as she was still confused. To my thinking and I wish her father told to avoid us. As one more wicket was gone, the cheering got louder and louder and Indians were about to taste history. Her parents now started packing up as it was next to impossible for Pakistan to get the game. She continued looking at the whole Indian fan zone and I so curious to know to know what was she thinking about. So her confusion turned to angry and I thought soon that angry will turn in to hatred. I stepped back. I walked my way back to my seat grabbing Shaily along. She asked me why and I said that I am feeling very tired. Walking back to the seat, I thought what were doing to that little girl is no different than what India and Pakistan has being doing to each other since independence. I can’t stand to be the part of that group that was feeding hatred into her. I cant stop thinking about that girl. I so wanted to know what her father told her about us. What we were doing was right but actually was way to much for just wining a game. But again, India winning against Pakistan is just winning its way more than winning.
The rivalry between two countries for cricket is surely something that will never go unnoticed and trust me, no other event on the face of the earth can bring Indians and Pakistanis together but cricket and if this possible, why not we try to brush our flaws and bring something better out of this. I was angry the fellow you wiped his hands with Indian flag, I was disappointed with the fellow Pakistanis who disrespected Indian National Anthem but somehow we all together are not understanding the basics of humanity. We all can argue on how politics dominates a sport like cricket on both ends but he have a brain and a heart that drives our desires, let focus both towards betterment of this world and the issues we are facing between two nations. Their are documented differences between these two nations and he past is painful but we need to heal, heal for the future of the next generation, for the future of the brains and heart we are feeding now.
How? is the question, Well, as one the greatest ancient scholar of India, VivekAnand said ‘Change the subject, the object is bound to change. Change yourself first, the world is bound to change.’ We all need to empower love and friendship, swap the words from hate to love, pick our mistakes first before pointing others and also to forgive. It is hard, but once you can do this, you have achieved wisdom and you are worth of the education you have acquired.
…. and for cricket and every other sport, always remember, ‘An educated man enjoys the game more than his team, regardless winning or losing’