And yesterday Pakistan lifted the Asia Cup. It was un-doubtly a great moment for the triumphant nation that meticulously planned every move in the nail-biting final encounter of the biggest cricketing event in Asia. It was good news for some in the Kashmir valley; some were unmoved; some were completely disinterested in what was going on in the field; and some more even favored the underdogs, as some like to call Bangladesh. When it is cricket and Pakistan playing, it is not the same in Kashmir. Just few days back when Pakistan played India, the situation was entirely different. It wasn’t the ordinary contest between bat and ball for the Valleyities, but a battle for pride, dignity, neighborhood and emotions. Around 9 in the evening the entire valley was up on feet; tension mounting ball after ball, over after over. India-Pakistan matches have a different fan following in this small valley. While the Pakistani side is worshipped, equally the Indian side is demonized. 9 PM is exactly the time when most of the families meet on the dinning table for dinner and discuss the affairs of the day. But on March 18, the family members were no-doubt assembled together, but no one was discussing the day or the sumptuous food garnished before them. All eyes were glued to the TV sets with hands raised up in prayers the favorites Pakistan. Cricket no longer remains a game when it is India and Pakistan in the field. It is nothing less than a war between the two neighbors with serious effects on valleys citizens; just the weapons are not lethal. Some in the burst of anger break their TV sets they otherwise remain glued to like moths. Others in the jilts of joy start praising un-necessarily their favorites. And while I was focusing my all attention on writing this piece, my heart couldn’t stop throbbing fast as I heard a faint cry or sob in the surrounding. Though I had put my head sets on and I was trying to engross myself in the music, but my attention swung between the writing and the game which had silenced the streets before the dusk had spread its wings. However, the only thing funnier at the end of the game when Pakistan lost to India; was the power disruption that seemed to have been strategically introduced to prevent the further grief from prevailing. The only sound that remained audible to the human ear was from the barking dogs feeding themselves on rich food thrown away in grief. AH! At least the dogs enjoyed …
Aliya Bashir on What’s in a name?