An inspiring story that befits the season of sharing and caring took birth just outside Chinnaswmay stadium here, thanks to the Indo-Pak Twenty20 cricket match. And as they say, it happens only in India.
When Mohamed Basheer, a Karachi-born businessman now settled in Chicago, landed in Bangalore hoping to watch the match, little did he realise he would run out of luck. All his attempts to get a ticket to witness the battle of arch rivals went in vain. Basheer didn’t give up. “Inshallah, I will find a way out,” he said.
The die-hard cricket fan, who runs two restaurants in Chicago, then stuck upon an idea. On the Christmas eve, wearing the traditional green Pathani suit, Basheer stood outside Chinnaswami stadium holding a placard, which read: “Please, I need one ticket.” He also had a flag that represented both countries. He soon became a story idea for local TV channels and was on air. But nothing happened.
Then it was Christmas on Tuesday and Basheer, 60, married to an Indian (Rafia from Hyderabad), decided to continue 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, Santa Claus came in the form a Good Samaritan. Vimal, a Banglorean, gifted Bahseer a ticket free of cost.
Hugs. Hugs. And more hugs. Then cheers and slogans. Followed by handshakes. While Basheer thanked Allah 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 Express.
The well-built senior citizen from across the border has never missed any Indo-Pak match. “I have travelled to Mohali, Sri Lanka to watch matches,” he added.
But the over-cautious Bangalore police did give Basheer some tense moments as crowds swelled around him. They asked Basheer to remove his long green Pathani suit and even prevented him from carrying the Pakistani flag inside the stadium, citing security reasons.
“Thanks to the intervention of the media, everything was settled,” says Basheer.
Asked about his next move in India, Basheer said: “I am heading to Chennai for the first ODI.” And, what about a ticket? “I don’t have it yet. I am sure someone will give it to me,” a confident Basheer said.
What an idea, Sirji!
(With inputs from Suresh Nampoothiri)