Namma Santa gifts Pakistan fan a ticket - The New Indian Express

Namma Santa gifts Pakistan fan a ticket

Published: 26th December 2012 08:56 AM

Last Updated: 26th December 2012 08:56 AM

An inspiring story that befits the season of sharing and caring. It took birth just outside Chinnaswmay Stadium, thanks to the Indo-Pak Twenty20 International cricket match. And as they say, it happens only in India. Only, in Bangalore!

When Mohamed Basheer, a Karachi-born businessman, now settled in Chicago, landed in Bangalore to watch the cricket clash, little did he realise that he will run out of luck. All his attempts to get just one ticket to witness the battle of arch rivals went in vein. Basheer didn't give up. “Inshallah, I knew I will find a way out,” he said.

The die-hard cricket fan, who runs two restaurants (Gareedb Nawaz Hotel) in Chicago then stuck upon an idea. On the eve of Christmas (Monday), wearing the traditional green Pathani suit, Basheer stood outside the Chinnaswami Stadium holding a placard, which read: “Please, I need one ticket of India-Pakistan Match.” He also had a flag that represented both countries. He soon became a story idea for local TV channels. He was on air. Yet, nothing happened.

Then it was Christmas on Tuesday. Basheer, 60, married to an Indian (Rafia from Hyderabad), decided to stick to his stand, begging for a ticket. Cricket fans and onlookers outside the stadium added more colour to Basheer's road-side show by cheering him. Finally, the moment arrived. On Christmas Day, the Santa Claus came in the form a Good Samiritan. Vimal, a Banglorean, gifted Bahseer a ticket free of cost.

Hugs. Hugs. More hugs. Then cheers and slogans. Followed by handshakes. While Basheer thanked Allah profusely for the ticket, he had a lot to say about Bangalore. “This is a great city and it is my first trip. The people are really great here,” Basheer told City Express. The well-built senior citizen from across the border has never missed any Indo-Pak matches. “I have travelled to Mohali, Sri Lanka to watch the matches,” he adds.

But, the over-cautious Bangalore police did give Basheer some tense moments as crowds swelled around him. The police asked Basheer to remove his green suit and prevented him from carrying the Pakistani flag inside the stadium, sighting security reasons.

When asked about his next mission, Basheer said: “I am heading to Chennai for the first ODI.” And, what about his ticket? “I don't have it yet. I am sure some Indian will give it to me. We are all one, you know,” a confident Basheer said.

'Fan'-tastic! What an idea, Sirji!

(With inputs from Suresh Nampoothiri)

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