My forefinger lingered over the F5 key on the keyboard occasionally to refresh the Google web page, so that I could check the scores of the match; India VS Pakistan. Why was I not in front of the TV? Because I was at work and all I could do was refresh the page and sit there in anticipation. Yes, today many had taken an unscheduled leave from work, to sit leisurely in the comfort of their home to watch this match, or they sat downstairs in the cafeteria, extending their breaks till the match ended.
The atmosphere changed abruptly and the floor (the call centre where I work), and we ‘fools’ who were working in night shift, burst into cheers. I smiled as they all high-fived each other or waved at me from a distance showing a thumb’s up. Of course, we all went back to our screen, and even a bad call or an angry customer or mess up couldn’t affect us, as India had won, but did it? We’ll get there in a bit. The floor during the match was enveloped in a trance, hoping not for India to win but rather for Pakistan to lose. It sounds like the same thing, but it’s not. When you strive for excellence you don’t care about your opponent or competition, you only aim for excellence otherwise, it just blocks us from being the best. Before I elaborate on that, I will try to shed some light on us workaholics.
We, who worked and didn’t sit with our eyes glued to the screen, were considered ‘fools’ by those who are in ‘love’ with India, in other words, ‘patriotic’ about India.
‘You don’t love India; you support so and so team.’
‘You like football over cricket? You are not a true Indian.’
‘Liverpool? Stick with desi meri jaan.”
‘Cricket should be our national game.’
These comments more than often get under my skin when they are stated and directed towards people I know personally. These non-lovers of cricket love India more than pseudo patriots. How can anybody measure patriotism through the love for cricket and support towards India cricket team?
‘It’s just a game according to you. Today you have disrespected India.’
‘I don’t mind my salary getting deducted. The match was worth it. You missed it.’
The worst comment I heard was, ‘You are a Muslim, and you support Pakistan; that’s why you are so dismissive about it.’
These are the comments directed towards me. It’s just a game for me, and I love watching it whenever it falls under my schedule and not just India’s match. I rather not take leave for a match which in no way defines my patriotism. I am working so I can save for college; earn a degree, not just BA, but rather a Ph.D. and then dedicate my time for social service. I volunteer for NGOs now and then, I pay taxes and not just see but believe in the potential of India. At the vulnerable age of 18 in desperate conditions, I refused to give a bribe and take part in corruption and guess what? I learned that from Islam, it is the real essence of being a Muslim. And I remember someone stating, ‘This is India, this is how it works here.’ Right…..maybe? And that certain someone is the same person who was glued to the screen in the cafeteria. Well, I made it work with my patriotism where your “cricketish” patriotism didn’t work.
Pseudo patriotists take part in corruption but claim their love towards India by watching a cricket match. I don’t mean to generalize, but I have seen several people like that. This hypocrisy needs to be erased from our hearts.
Someone’s patriotism cannot be determined from their love towards the Indian cricket team or even saluting the national flag or national singing the national anthem. If going out on the streets after the match has ended, looking to celebrate loudly and wildly by blocking the roads and spreading havoc in the name of India’s win is the epitome of patriotism for you, maybe you should consider the work that those on the borders of the country are doing. What is the epitome of patriotism if not being directed towards not accepting bribes, fighting corruption on an individual level and of course, accepting the fact that most of us Indians are essentially pseudo-patriots whose biggest contribution to patriotism is cheering for the Indian cricket team. Yes, good job folks! You certainly deserve a pat on your backs.