It was yet another evening of my sessions with the doctor. My gastroenterology problem had complicated with every visit. But I still had to, unwillingly, make another visit to the doctor. I hated the smell of the clinic-the phenyl, and the scene of other ailing patients.
My parents were fed up with my everyday whining to avoid going to the clinic. I usually get bored waiting outside the clinic in the waiting area. And quite typical of clinics where there are no journals, magazines or newspapers kept for short term entertainment of patients. Such absence makes patients even more conscious of their ailments during the long waiting hours.
But this visit was something, I probably, may never forget. As usual, sitting in my not-so-relaxed stance on an uncomfortable desk in the waiting area, I was longing for a journal. Or, some time pass stuff, at least to kill time. As the hours outside a clinic seem the most boring. Besides, endless hours of one’s life.
I was surrounded by people of every age : old, middle, and adolescents. There was a small TV in the corner, but nobody, bothered to switch it on. Making me think, perhaps it didn’t work.
Then an old shabby man with a beard (long stretching down to the chest and a walking stick) made an attempt to switch on the TV. Ten sports flashed on. He took his seat while adjusting his skull cap and pyjamas.
Pakistan v/s South Africa match was going on, and a dreadful silence spread across the waiting room. The silence was pin drop as if some breaking news had flashed on the screen.
But I have never had any interest in cricket. So, I preferred reclining on my seat. And meanwhile, I started noting every movement of the small audience in that room. They became head-over-heels interested in the match. And this interest reached its climax when Afridi came to bat. The whole crowd (as they had now become) turned frenzy, and started shouting in excitement.
I could tell from their faces that their heartbeats were fast. And their lips were murmuring: as if sailing some silent prayers towards heavens, for the stay of swashbuckling all-rounder on pitch.
Some old enthusiastic men were even perspiring. The women from village seemed equally excited. They were clapping each time Afridi hit across the rope. It was exciting to watch and record the state of activity in a clinic, as if the crowd was watching a live match in a stadium.
The passion, enthusiasm, and the love for team Pakistan was worth noting. The young boys reacted, as if they were on ground. An old bulky man’s face was red with excitement, thanks to his hormone rush.
As the match reached its end slowly, Afridi lost his wicket. And I could sense the adrenaline rush in the spectators. It filled the clinic’s waiting area. They hardly seemed patients due to peaked rush of excitement.
A little girl wore a worried look on her face. Then suddenly, the ball that bowled out Afridi was declared as no ball. And suddenly, the silent room got filled with hooting. All of them started clapping. As if they had come to life, again.
And suddenly Doctor’s call came from the cabin, announcing my name. But the first two summon calls were inaudible to me, as I was so lost in the hullabulla.
Leaving Doctor’s cabin, I saw the match had ended and the patients had returned to their normal mood. I asked a man about who had won the match, to which he smiled and replied, “Dear, it was an already telecasted match. Its fate was known to everyone present there.”
I was surprised to learn that people had been acting crazy to an already watched match!
On the contrary, I, having almost no information about cricket thought that it was a live telecast of the match. But I was utterly wrong. It had been an already telecasted match, enjoyed and watched before as well.
Though, all of this would have been a déjà vu for them. As they seemed cricket lovers who hardly would have had missed the ongoing match. And that too Afridi’s innings. But the excitement they displayed, confused me to assume that it must, perhaps, be a live match.
Thinking deep about their state of activity, I, somewhere thought them to be bizarre and absurd folk. I thought, it was foolish on their part to react with such vigour to an old telecast match.
But then, something else clicked in my mind which made me think the other way round: this was not absurdity, rather true inborn love, passion and enthusiasm, Kashmir has for Pakistan.
No matter where the people of Kashmir are, but in their hearts of heart, they will feel for Pakistan. As they feel for their motherland. This passion for Pakistan is not acquired; it is in the genes and veins of Kashmiri people. I concluded.
(Muntaha Amin is from south Kashmir’s Islamabad district. She has just passed her Class 12 exams)