23 September, 2020

Bridging Ideologies

Bridging Ideologies
MY first cricket tour was to Pakistan in the season of 1982-83. On a cold, wintry December morning, I reached Attari station, having trav-elled overnight by train from Amritsar, and then crossed the Wagah border on foot, one overused suitcase and a portable manual typewriter as cumbersome accompaniments across the furlong distance which otherwise separates the two nations by many hundreds of ideological miles. Getting through the Indian immigration and customs formalities was a breeze, but there was a squall at the Pakistani end of operations. A burly, thick-necked man, who appeared to ooze out of his uniform obscenely at various places, simply refused to believe that I had no more devious reason to get into Pakistan than cover cricket. "Yeh sab bakwas hai," he said of my organisation's letter which stated that the purpose of this trip was indeed cricket. He even rebuked his embassy's endorsement in my passport. "Kisi ko bhi visa de dete hain, yeh Dilliwale," he barked. My heart sank.

Relief came from unexpected quarters. Mr Burly's nastiness had caused enough commotion...



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