"You people are exerting massive pressure on the players. I can imagine the faces of those players that would be representing both Pakistan and India in the morrow's cricket match in Mohali. Kindly leave it to them. The Pak bowlers are capable of running through an Indian batting line up on the given day as well as the Indian batting line up is strong enough to disrupt the Pak bowlers' party. But that should be taken in good spirits as part of the proceedings." General Parvaiz Musharaf spoke these words to a suave-looking newsreader of the Times TV channel that appeared to lead the person to some sort of controversy by feeding him with a ludicrous question - Don't you agree with the fact that India were going to emerge successful in the Mohali's semifinal tie tommorrow?
It is also worth noting here that the gentleman newsreader was engaged in a bit of nerve-wracking discourse over the sanctity of the next day's cricket match from the patriotic point of view, only a while back. According to him and his channel it was a match that was war nevertheless fought without weapons with pride at stake. He also seemed wanting to prove the point that no policy will be changed by a mere cricket match, although the heads of the two states in question are watching the proceedings hand in hand.
On the other hand, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a good friend of Afridi, as much as Yuvraj Singh or Virender Sehwag are to certain other Pakistani players. Even the majority of the kins of these Pakistani players consider Tendulkar as better than Bradman. Outside the field, Sanjay Manjarekar is a good friend of Waqar Younis, Sunil Gavaskar has great regards for Rameez Raja, and most of the people of India deem Wasim Akram as one among themselves. This means regardless of the result of the monumental match, the rapport between these persons will remain more or less unchanged.
Besides, it is also worth an argument, if a loss to Pakistan would affect the career of any player of the India cricket team. Above all, taking the case of remuneration, the cricket players - of both shores - have already earned a fortune from the hype and here as well, are unlikely to lose anything noteworthy. So who are the people that really matter?
It is quite intriguing that if someone is going to benefit the most from this hype, it should be the proletariat of both India and Pakistan....the kind of citizens that can just not afford to travel in a bullet proof car or sport a bullet proof vest (something that can be often seen wrapping the trunk of J. Jayalalitha)...the people that will have to queue mandatorily at the ration retailer's if they want to have their day's meal at a reasonable price.....the children of whose will have to brave the heat and walk to the state-run school......who as a result are vividly exposed to the ominous threat called 'terrorism'.
Listen to the words of the former foreign affairs minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, "I think it is a clarion call for peace from both sides that are nursing grave injuries inflicted on them by a sinister force that is inch by inch eating away the serenity of the whole continent." This reflects the fact that people on both sides of the LOC are fed up and they want to see a promising change.
As stated by the Times' dude, a cricket match may not change the polical equations prevailing between the two countries overnight. But certain things can certainly expect a positive change in the future. The mother of all circumstances as far as Indians and Pakistanis are concerned is the one that compares the state of affairs prevailing in two regions on the globe, where the European states that were bitter enemies only half a century back are serving each other as well as supporting each other at the bad times under the banner of the European Union (EU). The EU has interestingly a say in everything concerning the member states ranging from food to digital scopes.
On the other side, two fast developing countries and a fast deteriorating country in this part of Asia are still dissipating their gains from commerce through shadow fighting against each other. Is it not irony to reckon that two countries with a part of their population mulling self destruction to tackle penury were busy constructing an opulent nuclear arsenal a decade back? Is it not travesty on the history of a country, which had maintained the value of Ahimsa in great regards that it currently is the largest arms importer of the world? Did not the wisemen of cricket of the two shores virtually overlooked a recent statement by the US that it hoped India would pick either F 16 or F/A 18 combat aircrafts as part of the multi-billion dollar combat aircraft deal between the two countries?
Now, who is the real beneficiary of a cricket match that has drawn in enough hype to bring the largely estranged chiefs of the two hostile nations to a single cabin? It may be just another cricket match for many (mother of all matches to yet another lot that wear sexy sleeveless garments and dashing tuxedos, and are always ready with a grin for the rest before the camera) but one that holds a lot of promises particularly outside of the field. For you just can't blame the laymen who think that if the thing clicks they would definitely gain a couple of bread loaves more in place of their regulation menu of missiles and rocket launchers. Whoever wins, borrowing Siddhu's favourite cliche, you will be drowned in the Cheshire cat-like smiles of the class called the celebrities on the TV and other media forms, but in the filthy gullies, on the disgusting paan-affected pavements and at the gruelling workplaces of the country, you will be able to see the real smile.....the big smile of relief.