Fast-forward again to the last two overs. By this time the ‘#bleedblue’, ‘#JaiHind’ and ‘curtains for Pakistan’ tweets had pretty much taken over Twitter … while I was still in denial. Defending my pride I proudly tweeted to Indians and Pakistanis who had long given up hope that a miracle would happen (it didn’t). Let me just add that mum talking about Javed Miandad behind me when Misbah ul Haq was CLEARLY nowhere near that mark did not help at all. Talk about ouch. An SMS from a friend was the last straw: ‘I am crying’. By which time, I was too.
That moment was emotional overload for me. Sensory shutdown. Why did I have to watch this on a Pakistani channel? The pangs of being away from Karachi … at that moment I would have done anything just to smell the rain again. To hear the sound of the ice-cream man. To look at those annoying biscuit adverts (believe it or not, I miss them). But most of all to experience the ‘jazba’ that you could never, ever feel in the UAE. I swear those of you living in Pakistan don’t know what you’re taking for granted.
That night was one of the most painful that I’ve lived through … the main nagging factor being that I had to face my snide Indian colleagues the next day. To make it worse I had an exam … no choice but to turn up. Needless to say that my Indian ‘friends’ did take full advantage of the situation. Every orange-painted face felt like a bee sting. Every blue shirt like a shortage of oxygen. Every little detail seemed to be magnified in Technicolor. I walked into school that morning only to have hundreds of needles pierce my already wounded pride. It was pain in every sense of the word.
But every tunnel has a light at the end, and, surprisingly, this one did too. It was absolutely heart-warming to see the amount of support Pakistan received. Not just from Pakistanis but from Egyptians, Sri Lankans, Irish, South Africans, Romanians … believe me, Pakistan, aside from Indians, the whole world was with you. I saw an Egyptian girl that morning, proudly teaching her Arab friends how to play cricket. A Romanian girl with a badge that said ‘Fighters till the end’. And of course us (still) proud Pakistanis, with our faces still painted green. In terms of cricket we may be dead, but our spirit was still very much alive. I swear to you Pakistan, I’m not giving this fight up just yet. I am very, very proud of how far our sorry excuse for a cricket team has made it. Our pride, patriotism and honour may be bleeding, but we are not dead. We have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
India, show off your gold this time. After 28 dry years, I daresay you deserve it. Because next time around, that cup is ours. Pakistan is to cricket what Germany is to football. Once stung, twice as deadly. Just you wait and see.