By T S Sudhir
“Mohali mein hum itne chauke-chhake maarenge ki confuje ho jaaoge ki boundary pe khade ho ki border pe!!!”
This Salman Dabangg Khan inspired joke is just one of the hundreds that facebook and twitter are brimming with, ever since India ruined Punter Ricky Ponting’s dream of another Aussie win in the World Cup. This post by Madhup Mohta was in response to the post by one of India’s most witty men, Madhavan Narayanan who wrote : “Rajkumar to Shahid Afridi : Jaani, tumhari daadi bahut khoob hai par lagta hai tere hajamat ke din aa gaye.”
Passions are rising across the Wagah as well. A facebook event page `Wear Green on March 30th 2011‘ has been created and when I checked last, it had 7664 members `attending it’. Its location is not geography-specific to the west of India. Rather it says : `Through out the World where Pakistan Cricket fanatics live’.
Of course, a clever Indian wrote : “It is good that the match is happening at Mohali. From there, it will take only half hour for the Pakistan team to reach the Wagah border by rickshaw.”
No cricket match in recent times has evoked such hype, such hysteria, such excitement as this battle of Mohali. Harsha Bhogle mildly objected to Tony Greig using the word `vendetta’ while looking ahead to this neighbourhood encounter. But surf through any TV channel or read the screaming headlines in the newspapers. Each one of them is raising the pitch to `Pak them off’.
A cricket website `Clear Cricket’ has blogged on `prescribed etiquettes and attitudes for the greatest match ever’. One of them being : `Loser desi footie fans, if you’re going to compare this to ManU v Liverpool, El Classico or some shit, please piss off right now, you won’t be spared.’
Another one : `For all those who are terming this as cricket’s holiest war, End of Times, Judgement Day etc. we f**king love you. It is going to be just that, in that Colosseum.’
Clearly it is not going to be `A Wednesday’ (a hit film on terror attacks in India). It is being billed as `The Wednesday’, when at any given point of time, only one Prime Minister will clap while the other will clench his fist and bear. Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani will watch the semi-final together at Mohali even as security agencies have gone into an overdrive, with intelligence inputs of a terror attack doing the rounds. Wonder if the fidayeens and the jehadis won’t like to take a day off as well to watch shots and massacre of a different kind.
The stakes are indeed high for Dhoni’s boys. Because if the Greens trounce the Blues, there is the nuisance value of saffron king Bal Thackeray who will threaten to queer the cricket pitch by imperiously declining permission to Pakistan to play in his backyard, Mumbai.
But first things first. It is taken for granted that the streets, from Kanpur to Karachi and Palakkad to Peshawar will be deserted post 2:30 pm on Wednesday. Pakistan would hope for a Javed Miandad-like Sharjah kind of performance while India would hope Nehra and Munaf do not do a Chetan Sharma. There would be for sure, a lot of chatter around the 22 yards and Sreesanth could use that to make a good case to find a place in the team. Purely on merit ! We all know he is a proven talent and has a way with words.
I end this with the final word from Madhavan Narayanan who writes : `India vs Pak semi-final at Mohali. Theme song: Wagah-Wagah.’
Move over, Shakira !