It was probably the millionth time someone today asked me a question, my ears have gone wounded hearing ,
“Do you have fights at home when the India-Pakistan match is played?”
And I give back the same answer a millionth time, with the same words and the same expression since the past two decades,
“I don’t side with any team. Both are mine. No more no less. “
Yes, my husband and kids are very passionate Pakistanis. They don’t spare a minute to support Pakistan or mock at India when they folly in the play. And they do it right under my nose. So what?
In fact, I am proud of their patriotism. They love passionately to where they belong. No regrets for I love passionately to where I belong.
And yes, unlike them, I belong to both the lands. Hence I love both India and Pakistan as much. No more, no less.
An acquaintance even had an audacity to question once on my mothering abilities for not having brought up kids favouring India or at least being neutral. She got a good bashing from a passionate mom in me, when I brought home the fact that I wanted my kids to be exactly the way they are—patriotic and passionate for their homeland. Yes they do love my birthplace too, but they know they don’t belong there. These are such intricate feelings one learns to appreciate when one lives it.
Talking of the match between India Pakistan played at Mohali today, my kids had literally counted down hours .
My girl had gone an extra mile to paint a T shirt with a Pakistani Flag for herself, at the cost of her study time for the Term Exams right next week. And like a true sister she ran from pillar to post, in whole of the city, to find a Pakistani team T shirt for her brother, buying it at double the normal price just a day before the match. They stayed up all night in the angst of not missing the first few moments of the toss even at 5 am in the morning.
I am so proud of their spirits. They did not even miss their schools and went wearing their Pakistan T shirts and a flag painted on the face. They chose to see the remaining match in School, as and when they could.
As they stepped out at 8 a.m, they both made an expectant request ,
“Ammi pray for Pakistan.”
How could I say to them, “No I am Indian, I’ll pray for India.”
I felt , once again, proud of my decision to love both India and Pakistan as much . No more no less.
I watched the match like a daughter and like a mom changing roles as and when the two sides did some action worth applauding.
I was sad for Sachin not to have made the century but then I also felt enraged when Afridi got out too soon. I cheered for a brilliant low catch by Nehra but then got equally elated for Misbah when it was given in ‘not out’ by the third umpire.
I cheered both sides as much. No more no less.
The match got over. India won brilliantly. Pakistan lost miserably. The game was a treat to watch.
Many friends called and emailed me congratulating on Indian victory. I was pleased for India. No not because they are mine. But because they proved to be a better managed team.
The kids came back home, gloomy and defeated. My daughter with her eyes swollen, had cried for having unable to bear the loss of her team and the fiery four letter words thrown at her by few fellow Indians. The son did not want to be hugged or talk about the match.
How could a mom rejoice for her victory with kids laden with sorrow ? Again the mom in me felt proud of having chosen to love both the lands as much. No more no less.
After hugs and cajoling they began to vent out their anger.
My girl blasts out her fury against India because of few nasty friends and shall support Sri Lanka in the Finals.
My boy is truly my boy, so he will side with India by “showing a big heart and sportsman spirit”, in his own words.
Time is the best healer. I know their bitterness shall vain but how I wish they had their prayers listened for today. As for me, sides did not matter. I would have been happy for Pakistan’s victory as much. No more no less.
My kids’ Pakistani buddies and my own Pakistani friends in real life or on Face Book are all enveloped in gloom and disbelief. It makes me sad too.
How could a mom or a friend rejoice when so many of her near and dear ones are gloomy? Again it made me realize how right I was for having decided to call both the lands my own. No more no less.
Victory ceases to thrill when there is defeat and sadness all around.
The heart in me which feels and throbs with the feelings of every disheartened Pakistani, how can it rejoice?
Most of all it is the heart of a mom who’s babies aren’t happy today. So how can that mom rejoice? She joins them in their sorrow as much. No more no less.
l love you my Pakistani kids, my Pakistani spouse and my Pakistani friends, and hence I love you too, PAKISTAN !
So how can that heart rejoice?
Just wished to add a beautiful poetry sent by a cousin , who is also an Indian mom of Pakistani kids like me:
Hari dharti ha wahan to neela aasmaaan ha yahan
Wahan janam data hain yehan janmon ka nata ha
Jo seekh waha se pae ha wahi to yehan lotae ha
Aasha hi abilasha ha yehi jeet ki paribhasha
(P.S. Am an Indian married to a Pakistani man and two passionately Pakistani kids. And I love both INDIA- PAKISTAN as much. No more no less.)