An open letter to Shahid Afridi AND......
I an avid cricket lover, but the support for Pakistan is out of sheer patriotism. Perhaps, I am fortunate enough to have a good memory; 20th June 1999 still haunts;17th March 2007 and 30th March, 2011 still bring tears in my eyes. I will not be a pedant , but would just say that I love Afridi
I have been enthralled; I have cried; I have been jeered at . Afridi has given me much to laugh about and perhaps much to leave me in a huff. Starting the 2000 Sharjah Cup with a golden duck and ending with a 52 in the final. Just like in 1997, he proved to be very useful with both bat and ball in the tri series down-under in 2000. I could write a book on him, but that is not the purpose of this piece.
My association with Boom Boom has grown exponentially. Whether he lofted Kumble ; whether he castled Ganguly, or whether he kissed Kallis; all remain in my memory as gold. I fought with friends; they teased me and I loved it. There were many culminating points; some lows as well. His temporary retirement from whites made sure that I had a bad class test next morning. His eventual retirement on 16th July 2010 made sure that I missed friends reunion. I still have a few unbearable moments in mind; his skirmishes; altercations and being stripped off from captaincy.
Regardless, Afridi continued to be my most enamored icon. His services to my country have been tremendous; it is not just about him winning matches , but their are other societal reasons too. It is about unifying. That merits another write up though.
I started reading about FATA; I started to learn Pashtu so much so that now I read and write on CT in that area; AF-Pak strategy and all. Afridi became a muse .Lala has given me a couple of birthday gifts ; one such was in Chennai way back in 1999.
But I am your greatest fan because I love my country. You along with your team mates give this country moments to cherish, albeit far and few.
Times certainly do change. I no longer took any defeat to heart. Over the past three years , our performances have oscillated from decent to poor . I didn't even notice that you weren't selected for the Champions Trophy in England. Yes, I was oblivious to whatever was happening around me; I still am.
Yes, I fell in a heavenly association; something that hurts and pleases at the same time. From war, politics and cricket I moved into the realm of sheer love(which stands stronger than ever before). Yes, the letter A came in my life; my thoughts and it became an obsession that I will NEVER end.
Now matter how much sophistry I try to churn out, love being unrequited has brought me to my knees; I toss and turn in agony and anticipation; I fight with my demons without an iota of solace.
To say that I am fine is a travesty of the highest proportions. I desire the impossible; yes, I may be a lunatic delusional brat, but I am pure. In fact, I am very proud of myself; losing the bearings for the dearest of the dear makes me happy. With me going nowhere, cricket becomes all the more important. Cricket , especially when Pakistan wins is the only thing that cheers me up. If it is owed to Afridi then I go on cloud nine, forgetting about that aspect of my life for a while.
In the spring of 2014, when I was most shattered (not that I am any better now) those 43 balls faced by Boom Boom in the Asia Cup made me scream out loud. YES YES, I was happy; I had tears , not for her but because we won on your(lala) behest.
My dear Afridi, may this fan of yours tell you that he has three great wishes for the years.
He wants a peaceful Pakistan
He wants the unrequited to become requited
And he wants Pakistan to lift the cup at the MCG on the 29th of March, 2015.
I know it is a team game. All are heroes for me but Lala, you yes YOU will or can create the indelible difference that opponents fear. Ahhh we need to see maximums from you; we need to see your customary celebrations. Can't you make a war-torn country happy?
Can't you play a major role in fulfilling one of the wishes of your fan? Can't you