Virender Sehwag was smashing our best fast bowler around for fun, but nothing could put a damper on our excitement. We made it to Mohali!  —Photo courtesy Sana Kazmi
"Virender Sehwag was smashing our best fast bowler around for fun, but nothing could put a damper on our excitement. We made it to Mohali!"  —Photo courtesy Sana Kazmi

I don’t know if it was the ease with which Pakistan put away the West Indies in the quarter-final or the prospect of watching them end another unbeaten World Cup run – India’s then 4-0 record against Pakistan, ugh – but that Pakistan Day, I began to dream.

I had read earlier that day that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had promised to expedite the visa process for Pakistan fans. After we won, I called my best friend and partner-in-cricket-obsession and told her we had to go. If India lost their quarter-final to Australia a billion tickets would suddenly become available, and if they won, well, then we would be going to TGME (the greatest match ever). I’m not sure whether her response was more ‘are-you-crazy? Bewilderment’ or ‘OMG-let’s-do-this excitement.’

We had no idea where to start, but that was probably a good thing because we didn’t realize how hopeless our cause was until it was too late to give up.

Inspired by Ashley Kerekes making it to the Ashes thanks to a viral twitter campaign, we started a #getthegirlstomohali hash-tag on twitter asking for ticket and visa information, and secretly hoping for ridiculous favours. We had five days to get visas, find match tickets and get on a plane or a train or a taxi to Mohali. How hard could that be?

Pretty much all the information I got on how to make this cricket pilgrimage happen – from the link to the right visa form to where in Islamabad I could find a printer at 5AM – came from twitter:

-The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has a visa-hotel-match-ticket package for $500 but you have to know one of their big-shots. - The Indian embassy is issuing visas along with tickets if you have a contact in the High Commission (they didn’t pick up their phone from 10:30 AM to 3PM). - If you have a visa, getting a couple of match tickets is going to be a breeze. - Actually, you need a ticket to apply for a visa. There must be some tickets reserved for Pakistan fans. - Even some of the journalists covering the event don’t have visas yet, applying at this point is hopeless. - Just apply ASAP, I think you’ll get it.

You get the picture.

Our first breakthrough came on Friday when the kind Ambassador Husain Haqqani messaged on twitter saying he would try and help us get a couple of tickets. Now that I had more tangible hope of getting a ticket, I got another friend on board. We thought briefly about sending-in a rushed application immediately, but were advised that the better option would be to submit in person Monday morning, two days before the match. We made plans to get to Islamabad from Karachi and Lahore to kick off operation #getthegirlstomohali for TGME.

The next step was filling out the online Indian visa application form. Saying that the experience was frustrating would be as much of an understatement as saying Test cricket will miss Mohammad Amir: there was no “Go Back” option and the form kept dying on us thanks to some aggressive timeouts.

There were non-technical challenges too. We cleared the first hurdle thanks to the generous Dileep Premachandran, who agreed to be our sponsor but we still needed a place to stay and all the hotels in or near Chandigarh were sold out. Our visa application deadline was 0830 on Monday the 28th, so no hotel success by Sunday evening meant we were needed someone in India willing to write us letters inviting us to stay with them, along with the relevant documents.. We also needed to submit a photocopy of our yet-to-be-sourced match tickets.

It was a long shot, but if any of us didn’t believe in the kindness of strangers, we were about to change our minds by the end of this match. A sweetheart of a journalist in Delhi agreed to be our pretend-host, before another very resourceful and exceptionally kind stranger from Ludhiana tweeted to say he could get us a hotel booking. Another friend in Mohali emailed us a picture of his three VIP passes to the match and we were all set with the visa application requirements – thanks to three Indians we had never met!

The officer at the Pakistan Foreign Office responsible for forwarding our applications to the Indian High Commission was on his fifth paan and impatient for breakfast, but he went out of his way to help us. It turned out that the visa application I had spent the last three nights filling out had been the wrong form all along. Thankfully this one was offline so we finished it quickly, paid the visa fees and said bismillah and shukriya and got out of there.

We were told we would hear about the decision by that night so we went home and crashed for a while before we began searching for match tickets. We pushed our twitter campaign, messaged every cousin, high school-nemesis and ex-colleague who worked at or knew someone at the tournament sponsors or the PCB and e-mailed all online black-market ticket sellers. By that evening, we had been promised two tickets – one from the kind ambassador and another from a friend’s friend at Times of India. Just one more to go…

At around 8.00pm that night – 42 hours before the match – we got a call from the Foreign Office saying our visas had been approved: 10 days, for Chandigarh, Mohali and Mumbai (we hadn’t even asked for Mumbai!) but that they hadn’t been stamped, so we needed to wait until 11.00pm. This was great news but we still had to get those visas that night to be able to leave for Lahore the next morning and reach Mohali before the match. It was a race against time.

No updates from the foreign office until midnight, then a call saying my friends’ visas were there but mine wasn’t and wouldn’t be there till at least 11.00am the next morning. It pretty much meant game over for me. I couldn’t believe it. The girls said they didn’t want to leave without me. I told them they were being silly and they had to go. We were too tired to debate, so we decided to talk in the morning and went to sleep after what felt like years.

We had slept in till noon. It was the day before the match. There was still no word from the Indian High Commission about my passport. We decided to leave for Lahore either way, India or not, so we had a lazy breakfast, packed and headed out to pick up our passports, stamped or otherwise. On the way to the foreign office I got a call saying my passport was back. It was 1pm – too late to aim to cross the border that day. If we crossed the border at 9 the next morning, we’d be at the stadium by 2pm, which was the official start time for the match. Picking up our tickets from their various sources in India beforehand would be a challenge, but we decided to go for it.

The green gear we gathered for the match.
The green gear we gathered for the match.

Our luck had turned again. In trying to get that third ticket through our hotel reservation lifesaver from earlier – let’s call him Superman – we landed a pass. We got on the bus to Lahore and started planning the fun stuff we hadn’t got time to think of yet, like whether we should wear green kurtas or personalized team jerseys to the match. We also needed flags and green paraandas, green chooriyaan, face-paint, stickers, green glitter and neon wigs. The bookshop on the rest-stop on the motorway to Lahore didn’t have flags or any of the other green gear we were looking for, but there were a couple of giant-sized Shahid Afridi posters (actually mobile-company ads) on the window. Of course we convinced them to give us one. Got to Lahore and packed for four days in one handbag that we would carry in to the stadium. No sleep again.

We reached the border at 6:45 and saw a few boys, in team jerseys, waiting around.
We reached the border at 6:45 and saw a few boys, in team jerseys, waiting around.

Superman had told us the border was opening early, at 6.30am, and if we crossed over by 7.00am, we would make it to the stadium, despite the five-hour drive. We reached the border at 6:45 and saw a few boys, in team jerseys, waiting around. A guard told us the immigration officials wouldn’t be there before 9.00am but thankfully, a friend had been kind enough to give our names to some officials at the border, so we pleaded with them to check those records, and they let us through. Immigration and customs on our side was pretty quick. We exchanged cash too – from a guy in a brown shalwar kamiz who had all the money in his shalwar-pocket, forget about receipts. (The rate was good). Shaikh Rashid Ahmed was in line ahead of us, beaming.

Crossing over to India.
Crossing over to India.

We ran to the Indian side. It was kind of surreal, but we were too rushed to think about how big a moment that was. The Indian guard at the border didn’t smile, but he was quick, which meant he was nice. The chatty officers at registration told us we had enough time to get to Mohali (not) and reassured (sic) us that it wasn’t going to rain. Ran from there to customs, where, thanks to Superman, some guy already had our names on some be-nice-to-them list. Filled out another form, then borrowed face-paint chalk from the other Pakistan fans in line to colour our faces while waiting for our passports to be scanned and copied. A very long 15 minutes and we were through to customs, who were so helpful they told us we didn’t have more than the maximum amount of Indian Rupees you were allowed to carry. They also liked our scary Afridi poster.

A very long 15 minutes and we were through to customs, who were so helpful they told us we didn’t have more than the maximum amount of Indian Rupees you were allowed to carry. They also liked our scary Afridi poster. That was it, we were in India!
A very long 15 minutes and we were through to customs, who were so helpful they told us we didn’t have more than the maximum amount of Indian Rupees you were allowed to carry. They also liked our scary Afridi poster. That was it, we were in India!

That was it, we were in India. There were about three dozen taxi-wallahs, all with “Special Permission for Pakistan WC” signs posted on their cars, each of whom insisted we go with him. We borrowed a taxi-wallah’s phone to call our taxi-wallah – he was clearly far away but insisted he would be there in two minutes and that we shouldn’t let the taxi drivers there mislead us. We waited about 20 minutes, which we spent haggling unsuccessfully with the taxi-wallahs to bring their rate (Rs.8,000) down to our pre-arranged cab rate (Rs.3,200). A couple of uncles in team jerseys and sunglasses inspired by Waqar Younis circa 1992 had just crossed the border with a man who looked like a driver for a fancy tour package. We acted fast and asked them if we could share a ride with them to the match. They agreed.

Fifteen minutes into the ride, we discovered that they had three extra tickets that they were trying to foist upon a reluctant golf buddy who lived in Mohali. With every passing minute and every call to our ticket sources in Ludhiana, Chandigarh and Mohali, we knew we wanted those three tickets more and more: they were all for the same stand and they were all in that car. We would feel terrible about not using the passes that our friends had worked so hard to secure for us, but unfortunately there was just no time for us to pick them up. So we spent the next four hours trying to convince our new Lahori friends that we deserved those tickets more than some guy who was playing golf on the day of an India-Pakistan cricket match and was going to cheer for the wrong team anyway. They couldn’t believe we had crossed the border without tickets. (“Who are you guys? Hide your wallet, KP!”) They also didn’t understand that anyone could want to go watch a match that badly: one of them (the golfer) had considered going straight to Mumbai when he got his visa and the other left – get this – seven tickets at home. I don’t remember how we did it in the end, but we managed to prise those tickets out of them. (“But we came all the way from Karachi and we haven’t slept in four days and… okay ask me anything – anything – about cricket!”).

Happily seated on the steps between aisles.
Happily seated on the steps between aisles.

We reached the stadium a few overs late and had to look around for seats before finally settling down next to the families of Wahab Riaz and the Akmals. Virender Sehwag was smashing our best fast bowler around for fun, but we couldn't stop smiling: we made it to Mohali!

Sana Kazmi is a reformed (read failed) computer scientist who has a serious tweeting-about-cricket problem.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (163)

Asad Shairani
April 15, 2011 1:52 pm
You should've mentioned the friends you ditched for the Eng-SL match to apply for the visa! :P
Hassan Raza
April 15, 2011 2:15 pm
I think you guys have the coolest parents ever to let you do all this
Sunil Gautam
April 15, 2011 2:19 pm
great narrative, well done girls! Do visit again.
April 15, 2011 7:20 pm
Such a simple language but so much suspense till the end. A very interesting account and well written. It seems that writing comes to you very naturally.
Dan P
April 15, 2011 7:32 pm
Well Done. Forget past and build future to remove Boarder.
April 15, 2011 7:40 pm
April 15, 2011 7:49 pm
Well done on making it there! The Twitter campaign was a great idea. The whole ordeal makes one wish that the visa process were not such a hassle between neighbors. So close, yet so far away.
Arisha G
April 15, 2011 7:50 pm
Awesome!! How cool is that. I am sure the excitement of it all is unparalleled and can be totally eclipsed by the dude wishing to go to the ashes.
April 15, 2011 7:51 pm
Bravo ladies! This is such a GREAT read! Thank you for sharing such an exciting and memorable experience. Watching an India Pakistan match on Indian soil is one of those experiences that you would talk about again and again with your generations to come! Glad all your efforts paid off at the end - and it is these very efforts and craziness that made everything worth while & so memorable. Kudos to those who helped out in India & highly disappointing to read about uncle who left 7 tickets at home...but can you really expect better from someone who had golf in mind on such an exciting day?
April 15, 2011 7:59 pm
Interesting read & good to see the happy ending. Hope u had a good time in India.
Ravi Khanna
April 15, 2011 8:05 pm
Amazing story. So sad to read that to get a visa of my country, you have to go through this ordeal. When will our politicians understand the meaning of friendship?
April 15, 2011 8:18 pm
April 15, 2011 8:32 pm
Here's an alternative: Three young MEN tried this. LOL! And Woohoo! Before they knew they were in Jail!
April 15, 2011 9:42 pm
A real good read .... I was excited reading the account and heartening to see you finally made it! Its stories like these which keep the hope alive that one day India Pakistan will be two friendly neighboring countries.
April 15, 2011 9:49 pm
yea that is 200% correct..
April 15, 2011 9:49 pm
Its kinda surreal reading all this. A bit of a deja-vu, only that in my experience it was the other way around. I went to Pakistan (yes I am a proud Indian Muslim, not a fanatic one ;)) to attend a friend's wedding on 2 days notice! I cannot even recount all the logistical nightmare and eventual jubilation I had to go to Karachi. Long live the conspiracy of the universe to keep us all connected! May you keep coming here and may we keep going there.
April 15, 2011 9:56 pm
Loved the report. Thanks for sharing. You girls are true cricket fans.
Amit Jain
April 15, 2011 10:35 pm
Good that you found three large hearted Indians.
April 15, 2011 10:36 pm
Very interesting, loved reading the story & could feel the excitement as if I was there. Keep up the good work!
raja jaria
April 15, 2011 10:43 pm
As long as politicians and Armed forces make money on both sides this state of affairs will continue. The people on either side of the border don't have problems it is only vested interest which r not letting go. We are same people,have same culture history.......... so why the separation?
Indian USA
April 15, 2011 10:52 pm
I was quickly reading the narrative hoping for happy outcome. Smooth and free flowing writing.
April 15, 2011 10:53 pm
Way to go girls!!!!
April 15, 2011 11:05 pm
This is as crazy as it gets.. you girl are an inspiration for all those sulking that they were not at the match. You girls ROCK !!!
April 15, 2011 11:07 pm
Enjoyed the story. So glad you girls made it, what spirit!! Would love to hear your experience in India? Did you go right back after the match or went to Mumbai? I would love to visit Pakistan one day.
April 15, 2011 11:46 pm
quite awesome!!!. i envy your courage. win for the green shirts wud hav been quite topping, still the expirence .. ah
April 15, 2011 11:52 pm
oohh wow! brave girls! u did it! i think u had done a superb job! btw how was ur four-day experience in india?
April 16, 2011 12:18 am
Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story! I have always wished I could travel to Pakistan and roam in the streets of karachi and taste the local flavour! I sincerely hope for peace and proosperity for both the nations!
April 16, 2011 12:23 am
@Khalid, I hope one day India and Pakistan will become friendly neighbor AND at the same time I wish Indian Muslim will liberate from expressing their loyalty to India whenever they are discussing any Pakistan related issue (yes I am a proud Indian Muslim, not a fanatic one ). As Always Indian Muslims are as patriots as anyone.
April 16, 2011 12:36 am
well dude obviously they only applied for the visa 3-4 days before....if u apply earlier u would certainly get it.
April 16, 2011 1:15 am
"They couldn’t believe we had crossed the border without tickets. (“Who are you guys? Hide your wallet, KP!” - vikings
April 16, 2011 2:01 am
Amazing story, Thank you for sharing such an exciting and memorable experience with everyone.. Glad to see all your efforts were appreciated in the end. Bollywood should make movie on this beautiful trip from Karach to Mohali. good work.
April 16, 2011 2:09 am
Good story for yash raj new
Vikash Bansal
April 16, 2011 2:10 am
Loved your journey. I was there at Mohali, at the stand almost opposite to yours. I guessed that that stand was for fans from pakistan. I enjoyed a lot over there. I enjoyed the game of both the teams, though I wanted to see Akhtar palying but Wahab was awesome. It was a great match and nice cricket from both sides. Hope to see some more matched between India and Pak
April 16, 2011 2:20 am
I see Asim and Asad were the ditched friends :p don't worry boys - these girls went on a mission which deserves nothing but tons of kudos :) oh and definitely worth skipping the ENG-SL match ;)
April 16, 2011 2:25 am
great story, very exciting, shame about the end result of the game. How did u make your way home after the match :-P lol
April 16, 2011 2:34 am
The politicians will understand, when people will stop "abusing" the trust when they are granted a visa to India. While this is such a great story of friendship - the hard truth is that the trust has been breached over and over ... and as an Indian I am glad that the authorities are selective on who gets visas. Yes, I agree they can use a bit more common sense approach to this instead of making it hard for everyone. I met this Pakistani woman in Houston Indian consulate who was visiting the consulate everyday for 3 months to get a visa - they gave a visa to all her family - husband and children because they were not actually born in Pakistan - but not her. That is pointless of the consulate - I agree!
Dr Mishra
April 16, 2011 3:06 am
Dear girls, Your account read like a thriller. Come back to India again, this time have some fun in Goa. BTW, the guy who left 7 tickets back home- HAS HE BEEN SHOT YET? That was blasphemy !! On that note, Love from India
sherePanjaab Singh S
April 16, 2011 3:21 am
Very interesting. I widh that we all should be able to go across Wagha as we cross USA Canada border. No hassal. I faced same situation at Pak consulate in LA to get visa. They kept me waiting for 3 days while a gora was granted visa in 1 hour. I felt bad that why we do not trust each other but show courtsey to the race who devided our common history, culture, land and language. I love Lahore and wish to do legal practice and live there. Amritsar and lahore are realy twin brothers. Long live Punjab, India, Pakistan.
April 16, 2011 5:25 am
Very nice story. Really enjoyed reading it. Shows that daughters are same everywhere. I am from India originally and have 2 daughters. Proud of what you did.
April 16, 2011 6:28 am
Awesome!!! you guys are die hard. I am also a last minute die hard optimist. Good to see there are people like you. Do visit India again!!. I wish Indian immigration process (online application) would be simpler. Well!! Indians fight with the British era "babu mentality" everyday, this was your first experience. hats off to never say die attitude and Commendable journey that you guys made!!
April 16, 2011 7:33 am
Thank you for sharing your story. Really loved it and read all the way to the end and enjoyed it. So brave of you to go alone and try to get through all the stupid bureaucratic hurdles and organize this trip. It helps to think out of the box when you are racing against time to get to a match!
Jay S
April 16, 2011 7:37 am
Wow! Simply amazing! I wouldn't have believed it if it wasn't true. You, ladies, symbolize the true cricket fan. Don't know if I would have the perseverance to go through what you guys did for a single game.
April 16, 2011 8:00 am
Ohhh boy!!! U girls rock. That must have been some adventure. Good to hear people from other side of the border coming here for fun. It was a good read and Imtiaz Ali can make a movie out of this piece.
April 16, 2011 8:15 am
With so much help from higher-ups and personal resources, who could not make it..not impressed but found it an interesting read.
Narinder Dogra
April 16, 2011 8:54 am
Congratulations, girls! You are more daring and successful than General Pasha. Pakistan should be proud of you. I am even though I am not Pakistani. You have proved by your motivation and actions that Pakistan will never be a failed state. May Allaha be with you.
April 16, 2011 9:39 am
Well its good LOL pEaCe OuT
April 16, 2011 10:19 am
It could have been icing on the cake if u could have made Pakistan won the match!!!
April 16, 2011 11:17 am
What a well written account of your journey to Mohali, with so much humor and passion! You girls are awesome. Sorry that the match didn't quite go your way but looks like you had a blast anyways! Here's to more Indo-Pak cricket! Cheers!
April 16, 2011 11:24 am
You girls totally rocked it! The result of the match was not what you were expecting for, but hope you had a great time in India. Keep coming! and hopefully our babus will learn to make it easier for us to cross-over
Rajat Khanna
April 16, 2011 11:33 am
The article is as interesting as teh MATCH WAS. I was among the lucky guys who made it to Mohali and teh Joureny was so exctitng.. waahh. It was good to see pakistAn Supports at Mohali. in their greens. Have read million of times that we are all just teh same. was good to experience this.. and I must add the enery level of Pakistan support was just amazing.. I remember there was kid must be 11-12 shouting his heart out from the VIP BOX . it was just an amazing experience over all..I;m sure every Pakitan visitor had a good time..
April 16, 2011 11:39 am
Wow girls! What a splendid read, well done!! Loved your spirit, Pakistani girls have it all!!!
peer faisal
April 16, 2011 11:54 am
oh!nice .............of pakistan at the top......keep it up
peer faisal
April 16, 2011 12:02 pm
oh! seems yours understand..............
guru b
April 16, 2011 12:03 pm
There's a movie in there somewhere. Awesome.
April 16, 2011 12:40 pm
It takes a lot of resolve and a fair bit of luck for an Indian or a Pakistani to watch a match in their respective neighbouring countries. Great work girls!! You girls have a lot of steel within you. I would feel very threatened as an Indian Hindu to go and watch a match in Peshawar sitting beside other locals
April 16, 2011 1:13 pm
Amazing reading, end well all well.. Finally you did it,
Mukesh Bhalla
April 16, 2011 1:36 pm
interesting writing of the whole episode. The suspense was there till the end. But on the whole, despite uncalled situations, u all reached the venue and enjoyed the game. It was a clear victory of the game of cricket. Thanks for sharing your experience. Regards Mukesh Kumar Bhalla
April 16, 2011 2:04 pm
love you girls, great job
April 16, 2011 2:26 pm
One must admire the steadfastness of the three girls and their guts as well. You came all the way to Mohali and had no tickets with you. Great stuff. Your description of the travails you underwent makes wonderful reading. GOD BLESS YOU ALL
Nasser Ali Khan
April 16, 2011 2:48 pm
Wow, what an interesting and detailed article - and informative too. Perseverence is perhaps the most difficult trait to have, but definitely the most rewarding as it reflects 100% commitment, even if at the end you don't achieve your objective. What also helped was the clarity in your minds as to what your objective was - just being in Mohali on that day irrespective of any other desires. It is also gratifying to see such positive responses of our Indian sisters and brothers, a large credit also going to the writer of this article. I wish more power to your pen, develop a Facebook forum for like-minded Pakistanis & Indians, and perhaps even write a book on your adventures. You guys can do it. Finally, find excuses to visit India more often and hope that Indians start coming to Pakistan too on a more frequent and regular basis. How I wish I was in Lahore and making this trip to Mohali myself. May Allah fulfill this dream of mine one day.
Rakesh Mehta
April 16, 2011 3:22 pm
That's the spirit. Dont let it fade for the rest of your lives. Bravo. Rakesh Mehta
Sarthak Mohapatra
April 16, 2011 3:26 pm
Well done girls.
April 16, 2011 3:34 pm
Girls; If three of you write so well an account of what a success means, think of what millions in both countries can do when such a mindset unfolds. You have left obviously a hope that everyone dreams in every walk of life. Your piece is a taring materials for million children. Best luck and please get-in to build a good nation out of a land, they surely need your spirit and celerity of purpose-Do it.
April 16, 2011 3:34 pm
Great to read all these but one thought, can three Indian girls from India dare to do same by visiting Pakistan to view India- Pakistan cricket match?
April 16, 2011 3:42 pm
Like climbing Mount Everest ?
Firoz Syed
April 16, 2011 3:52 pm
Hi Sana, sincerely apologize to you for the inconvenience caused to you in my country. your story is so heartwarming and inspiring that i could not restrict myself to write to you, believe me it is youths like you who will bring india and pakistan closer and together. finally, we accept it or not but india and pakistan needs each other, always, wish to see you sometime in my country soon,
Pabu Kympa
April 16, 2011 4:07 pm
Sana, you write very well. Girls, you rock! Living through the enactment must have been stressful but your resourcefulness (in other words your open minds and eyes)pushed you through the barrier and your "there is no return" attitude propelled you to your dis-heartening goal. I bet you are doing LOLs and ROFLs now when you read and re-read Sana's account. Bravo girls! I hope your determination and freedom of action is an inspiration to millions of girls on the sub-continent.
Ahsan Naeem
April 16, 2011 4:23 pm
awsome...!!! like super awsome..!!! cnt xpress it in words..but thumbs up for u girls..!! =D hoping to hear how was th rest of ur indian tour??!!! =D
April 16, 2011 4:32 pm
Wat a thrilling experience.... well done girls. actually my best friend lives in sialkot i wish to cross border like this to meet him one day. wish me all the best..
April 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Great spirit girls. Dear Prafulla, Ofcourse any number of Indians whether girls or boys are more than welcome to visit and see their team playing across the border in Pakistan. Don't go for what is mostly shown on the news. It's not always as it seems to be. People here are equally warm-hearted if not more. When India toured Pakistan during Pervaiz Musharraf's time a lot of Indians did came here & had a good time and i guess were astonished by the warm reception they got even on the streets and bazaars. I hope some day the relations between our two countries are so friendly that people could visit both the countries without any fear whatsoever.
Fahad Fazli
April 16, 2011 5:17 pm
Absolutely Fantatic! Loved it:) Way to go girls:)
April 16, 2011 5:34 pm
Have you already forgotten how the Pakistanis welcomed not only Indian girls but all Indians in 2004? I remember reading about how even the Pak rickshawallas carried them FREE, demostrating Pak hospitality.
April 16, 2011 5:42 pm
Great reading , felt like i am in a movie theatre.... good things some times happen by chance and everything goes in ur way.. thats the everyone have a nice weekend..
Gauhar Vatsyayan
April 16, 2011 6:09 pm
All of u three girls are amazingly beautiful.... :)
April 16, 2011 6:24 pm
You Ladies were awesome. I could not imagine travelling from Karachi to Lahore on a train and you three went to India----wow. Against all odds,you acquired the visa,transportation,tickets,you should be appointed Pakistan's Ambassador to New Delhi,may be this boldness would bring peace and harmony in that hostile region.
Gopala Ganesh
April 16, 2011 7:08 pm
Sana and your friends: What an AMAZING story girls! With such determined, confident, relentless young people, Pakistan has a great future! Let there be many, many more such exchanges and let us hope for at least a common market (EC) type of relationship among the INDEPENDENT countries of the subcontinent in the not too distant future. That will surely multiply many times over the opportunities for EVERYONE. I honestly believe Pakistan will gain immensely and disproportionately more from such a deal because I am convinced it is not just population alone! It is also the type of people and I am really excited for your country that I am sure millions of youngsters just like you! Love to all of you, - gg
karan taman
April 16, 2011 7:10 pm
Good stuff from you girls but wasn't it hard getting out of India after the loss of Pakistan in the game?? :P well written but shame your team didnt win
krishna v
April 16, 2011 7:24 pm
Nice one, superbly written!! captures the passion more accurately than any other two dozen articles forced down our throats by the 'regular' media.
April 16, 2011 8:44 pm
Hi! This was a very sweet recollection. I guess everyone would have identified with it. But hey Prafulla - ur comment was very insensitive. Pakistanis were very warm and welcoming to us when they hosted the match in 2003. Please be careful when u post such comments. Dont create a bad impression of us Indians in the Pakistani mind. There are enough misunderstandings between us. Hope u would not repeat this mistake. Cheers! Aditi
April 16, 2011 11:06 pm
Hi girls ! your story rocks and i admire your courage. As a pakistani citizen i have lots of love for people of india . dont let politions rule your lives . Be free . No matter where you from , we are all human beings with similar needs. we should love one and another . matter of fact i might just plan a trip to india one day .i have some indians freinds and we all get along and why cant people in pakistan and india. we need each other . together we arise and divided we fall , just like since 1947 .
April 16, 2011 11:34 pm
Absolutely fascinating . As another reader commented, captures fully our passion for cricket generally, and indo-pak cricket in particular.In the photograph showing you sitting at the stadium, with your your friends,there is no trace of tiredness, despite the sleepness night,arduous journey and the consuming anxiety, which only shows that success has erased all the travails.Thanks for the super article, which i also made my family members read, for more reasons than one. Good luck.with best regards,ramakrishnan from Chennai,India.
April 17, 2011 12:16 am
For all the peoples of the two nations - demand that there be free flow of individuals between them. There will be no war if both nations' people interact one on one. Remember you are one human race. No one can argue this statement. Good read girls..
April 17, 2011 12:24 am
Beautifully written. You rock.
April 17, 2011 12:45 am
Thank you... for your adventure and your story which brings us closer. Need more stories like these on either side of the border, and I am sure they are plenty.
Lt Malik
April 17, 2011 1:29 am
...that's a great story!! ....and superbly written... congratulations!!!
April 17, 2011 2:12 am
tempting as it might be to write about all the bhaichara that awaits, I will chuck that for now and say - woohooooo! I din't know there are girls just as mad as us in my neighborhood! Plan a big girls get together for the next match and I will throw an after-party! :D
Utbah Masud
April 17, 2011 3:26 am
Wow.....Kudos for your commitment. Would love to read more from you.
April 17, 2011 4:07 am
Please be positive before u make any comments, as other responder said, Pakistanis had opened their arms and pockets both greeting all visiting.... Indian during 2004 series, I am sure even after some tense relationship Pakistanis will treat our Indian friends in same manner if Indian team visits again. I guarantee you
April 17, 2011 6:06 am
Awesome Story!! loved reading it. I never thought that Pakistani girls can be this bold.
Rajesh K Sharma
April 17, 2011 6:14 am
about..Thanks for sharing your passionate experience with such minute details & some good sense of humour like...."We exchanged cash too – from a guy in a brown shalwar kamiz who had all the money in his shalwar-pocket, forget about receipts. (The rate was good)"
April 17, 2011 6:18 am
Wow...that was some adventure! Congratulations from an Indian friend.
gary gupta
April 17, 2011 8:24 am
Bravo girls! I am impressed and inspired from your story. Keep it up. One day India and Pakistan leaders will realise the bond of love and friendship beetween the people of both countries and follow the the same path.
Preet Singh
April 17, 2011 8:48 am
This is a great article. I wish one day I will be able to travel to Punjab on the other side of the border. This people to people exchange is a wonderful thing. We have a shared history and an intertwined future. Only when we embrace this relation will we both be at peace and able to prosper together. Salam & Sat Sri Akal
April 17, 2011 9:11 am
You go girlz!! So how was your experience in India??
Muhammad Asghar
April 17, 2011 9:53 am
An amazing herculean story which shows the determination and passion to get the goal by young ladies of Islamic republic of Pakistan.I believe that this is not only the sigle shot played by the young ladies but also it refelection of our society.
April 17, 2011 10:32 am
Brilliant read!
April 17, 2011 10:52 am
If only we would be this passionate about something more meaningful than cricket....
Manek Shergill
April 17, 2011 11:03 am
What a well written article,one can almost feel the roller coaster of emotions that you went through and I am glad that things ended up well !!!! Hope I get a chance to visit Pakistan soon :)
April 17, 2011 11:41 am
Well Done Girls !! I'm sure the day is not very far when people of pakisthan and India would travel without any restriction. People who are reading this may not believe, but take the example of Europe .... they had bitter wars and bloodshed with each other in europe, but now everything is normal and they only have logical borders between countries and no visa restriction, no animosity, no hatred. To get this kind of situation between India and Pakisthan might take time and it could be 25 years, 50 years or whatver...but one day its gonna happen !
Tauseef Farooqi
April 17, 2011 1:05 pm
Congrats for making impossible possible. I suggest you should seriosuly think of channeling your energies to something more positive!
April 17, 2011 1:13 pm
A really really nice read!! Though i'm not cricket crazy!! ( I did watch the India-Pak match of course!! I might not be cricket crazy, but I am Indian. :) ), I really loved the enthusiasm and effort. And am really happy to read about friendly Indians as well as Paan chewing Pakistani bureaucrats!! ( Only goes to show how similiar our countries are!! :) ). Gives some hope for better/normal Indo-Pak relations. Good going!! Anand
April 17, 2011 1:35 pm
I appreciate ur boldness and determination. Nowadays nobody wants war everybody wants peace. We have to cooperate in all the fields and make a better tomorrow for our coming generations.
Major Aamir [R]
April 17, 2011 2:15 pm
you are most welcome visit Nankana sahib and lahore you will love it
April 17, 2011 2:24 pm
Nice to read article...The common public of the two countries should be ambassadars of peace. Politicians and Religious fanatics should be kicked out.
Devesh Prakash
April 17, 2011 2:55 pm
Looks similar to Veer-Zaara story... Hope you enjoyed your trip to India... write more about that and how was that match for you... Hope we will have a better future together...
April 17, 2011 3:29 pm
Kudos to all 3 Grls .... Its been great feelin while reading this.....what an Article...Its like GEM ...U all r Rcoking experience frm this jrny and thanks fr giving such a beautiful article......wan more article ......
r k sharma
April 17, 2011 3:33 pm
nice to read passion, labour, and gods's blessings allmakes a success pray foe the time when the border gate will be a relic and any body will cross it like "Lohore gate "in Delhi and Delhi gate in Lahore
April 17, 2011 4:14 pm
lovely story -I read it a bit fast but promised myself to read it again - very enjoyable -great writing
Kishor Garewal
April 17, 2011 4:17 pm
Vow, Vow Vow.. Girls u r the Torch of Today. Light us, ALL for Tomorrow. God bless you. K
April 17, 2011 4:27 pm
I think most ppl will agree with me that most of the "out of the way" favors you got bcoz of the gender factor. Just think of "3 Boys from Karachi" trying to do the same........
Arif Kazmi
April 17, 2011 4:34 pm
as Sana's father, I gratefully acknowledge the compliment.
Shehryar Khan
April 17, 2011 6:09 pm
Great and well written story. How I wish that the same passion that these girls and the youth of Pakistan have for cricket would also be present in them for bringing about desperately needed CHANGE and relief from the corruption and failed governance of Pakistan by the ruling political elite. How I wish this same passion would be transferred into a struggle for the rights of the common man and relief from oppression and all forms of religious, gender, and social bigotry and the end of all Zia-era draconian laws like Hudood Ordinance and the Blasphemy Law.
April 17, 2011 6:14 pm
This is the first step for the world to become a global village - the internet. May be another 100 years, there may not be any border, the physical world will look similar to the borderless internet.
Dennis Dey
April 17, 2011 6:33 pm
Your argument is lopsided and unfair to women, who have to overcome many mental blocks on the part of the people interacting with them. Boys would have made it much faster to their destination.
Farooq Ahmadani
April 17, 2011 7:02 pm
I admire the passion of cricket and determination of the girls. People of India and Pakistan have proved once again that we can be very good friends and neighbours.It was a great game, it gave us a great pleasure of watching prime ministers of two great countries sitting together. Regardless of the results we are glad the game of cricket won and openend the door of cricket diplomacy. My suggestion, India and Pakistan should exchange a complete series of cricket test and one day games. Farooq Ahmadani, Atlanta, USA
April 17, 2011 8:18 pm
Fantastic job girls. Kudos to you for your creativity, tenacity and having an attitude summed up by the mantra "just do it"!
Ata ur Rahman
April 17, 2011 8:40 pm
Beautiful story,enjoyed reading every word.Allah bless you. Ata ur Rahman
April 17, 2011 8:50 pm
Wonderful fiction.
Zi@ R Qureshi
April 17, 2011 9:09 pm
A very well written article which is definitely full of emotions and thrill. I wish-n-pray that both countries work together to improve economies anf enhance love.
Xainab Mirza
April 17, 2011 9:26 pm
April 17, 2011 9:34 pm
What an inspirational adventure! You girls ROCK! Just goes to show what incredible zeal and determination young Pakistanis have when overcoming so many hurdles to achieve their almost impossible dream! Bold and dynamic trailblazers such these young ladies exist all over Pakistan, and we applaud them for their perseverance against all odds! These young ladies should run for Pakistan's Parliament and teach the likes of Kashmala and Zardari how to maneuver the stormy relentless waves faced by Pakistan today.
April 17, 2011 10:16 pm
I'm An American and I really admire the never say die attitude of the girls,well done.Cricket some time drives people almost crazy.All thing aside,I simply can not understand if Canada were to cut all ties with USA ,Usa will survive but Canada will be hurt very severely,and all thing aside,it is in the best interest of self preservation and pragamatic business angles Pakistan must rethink its unremitting and unyeilding stance,hope they will adjust their policy,I'm sure there is enough good will in India and it is her own interest to welcome Pakistan and her long lost cousins.Hope better sense prevail all around,I will be a happy American.
April 17, 2011 10:52 pm
go girls go we Indians are not even half as efficient as u guys are...but then we Just Do It
April 17, 2011 11:00 pm
Respect to the author for taking on such a big adventure and seeing it through to the end. ^_^
Gaurav Shandilya
April 18, 2011 12:45 am
Kudos to you girls...!! You guys are really rock stars.....I hope you like our hospitality and I seriously wish to see Indian team playing in pakistan and then I wish to seek your help the same way :P Love you all...Gauri
April 18, 2011 1:00 am
Fantastic! As a cricket crazy female Indian fan, I am so glad that there are equally cricket crazy female Pakistani fans....Many congratulations for your dedication. I hope you had a warm and welcome stay in my home.
Rajeev Chopra
April 18, 2011 1:17 am
Your story is no doubt fast paced. Just like fast bowling. I had to read some lines again to let your whole experience sink in as if it was me going through all that. Very well written. Extremely inspiring. Only shows what determination and perseverance can achieve. I hope to visit Pakistan some day, the land from where my parents and grandparents have come. Way to go girls. Please do come to India again. There are lots of things to see.
April 18, 2011 2:37 am
great story but this was only possible because they were girls and from karachi. There r abt 5-10 girls on twitter related to pakistani cricket and kind of used it to their advantage. The ambassdor would never give out these tickets to any male. Look at the dilema of our society even though one of these girl in not pretty yet ppl helped because she was a girl. desperate times.
April 18, 2011 3:43 am
Contrary to popular thinking, it doesn't work like that all the time. In many cases gender becomes an obstacle and an impediment to progress (like in breaking stereotypes; e.g. "aap mujh say friendship karain geen")..:-)
I R Sadiq
April 18, 2011 5:50 am
What an amazing story! AND an even more amazing account! Very well written! Hats off to you girls and everyone that helped you on either side of the border! Long live India-Pakistan Friendship!!!
April 18, 2011 7:13 am
I don't understand this at all. Just look at this amazingly eloquent article written by this witty energetic Pakistani girl, her friends and all the responses from Indians. When they love each other, they want to drown each other with rivers of emotional love and simultaneously, they hate each other so much that they want annihilate each other from the face of the earth. Insane. Love and Hate at it's pinnacle. Does this thing ever existed between any neighbours ever in the History of the Universe?
SherShah Suri
April 18, 2011 7:20 am
All I can say ladies: You Go Girl! ;-)
April 18, 2011 7:26 am
Sana, You have a wonderful ability to narrate and to write.You have a great and free flowing style and you almost drag your reader along for the journey. Amazing! Please do not stop. We want to read more from you. As someone suggested, please start a fb page. Indians love your writing. That's needless to say. You can figure that out from the replies you got. Milind from Philadelphia
April 18, 2011 7:50 am
U guys should make a movie out of this story, like "the new york minute", very nice...
April 18, 2011 8:21 am
3 Boys from Karachi no problem for us. Had it been 3 Boys from Punjab we would have been jittery.
April 18, 2011 9:43 am
whoa...the exhilaration of doing something like that is definitely something...who needs sleep if you have something like that to keep you going..... great job girls....absolutely amazing...plz write in long did you stay there....Details???
April 18, 2011 9:45 am
life is so beautiful and every second of life has jus one realise the destiny and walk hand in hand wit that destiny... forgetting al those 'gender matters' ideas, its pretty simple like "if u really want something and wish for it wit al ur heart, the whole universe wil conspire for u"... but never forget the fact of 'beginners luck'...!!
R K Hastir
April 18, 2011 10:17 am
Enjoyed Like a FRESH-AIR . what a fresh mind-set , keep it up . God BLEES You .Salute to your spirit. R K H (India )
April 18, 2011 10:28 am
April 18, 2011 10:31 am
long live Pakistan and womanfolk who steer their way out.
April 18, 2011 10:48 am
All humans of whatever religion they are, whatever countries they belong to...should love each other..Hatred leads to nowhere..People in India and Pakistan look like same, talk same language, have similar requirements hence no reason why there should be any hatred. All religions hv their own beliefs hence should be respected. No religion has taught to spread hatred....Lets be humans, be kind, be nice to each other.
Rabia Basri
April 18, 2011 11:03 am
Nice Story
Sushant Biswas
April 18, 2011 11:59 am
Enchanted by the whole experience, I hail the spirit of the girls, I hope you had a good time, even though Pakistan lost the match. I welcome the spirited girls to visit and stay in my home in New Delhi next time they visit my country. Bod bless them
April 18, 2011 1:39 pm
100% Agreed! That was exactly what I tried to say in my comments below...
Global Citizen
April 18, 2011 5:57 pm
Please don't put a sexist angle on it. These girls should be honored for their bravery. In a conservative society like Pakistan they had the courage to travel to India by themselves. That is why so many people helped them.
Global Citizen
April 18, 2011 6:00 pm
Ironically most the the positive comments here are from Indians and a few Pakistani women. Pakistani men have negative comments for these Pakistani girls.
Khuram Warraich
April 19, 2011 1:34 am
Well, i don't see any negative comment from Pakistani males - You should read the comments again... Anyways - Girls - you have done gr8!!!!
April 19, 2011 2:39 pm
You go girls! Admire the efforts and tenacity and hope us Indian received you with much warmth and hospitality.
April 19, 2011 6:34 pm
I was given such a tough time by the Intelligence Authorities at the Indian side of customs. Shahid Afridi's brother was with us and it was very frustrating to see the behaviour of the Indian authorities. 6 hour wait for intelligence clearance for not just me and my friend but for another group of 14 people.
April 19, 2011 8:31 pm
Well done girls -- enjoyed your story. As they say in Urdu "Harkat main Barkat". I wouldn't even subscribe the channel let alone try to fight out a visa and tickets for the match. Get some sleep.
Omar Haroon
April 19, 2011 9:10 pm
Haha. That was a really fun read. Don't think you folks would have been disappointed by our teams loss due to all that fun khwari you had. I am curious though how the story would have been if it had been 3 male Pakistani fans. Call me a cynic, but considering the visa process takes so long and the male bit of our population is looked upon with distrust (can you honestly blame them though), I don't think they'd have gotten far.
April 20, 2011 12:55 am
Guys - Indian Muslims shouldn't have to prove their loyalty to the country in a chat forum. As a non-Muslim I am not proud of this situation. I know that the times are crazy but it will pass too...hang in there.
April 20, 2011 1:23 am
Whadda write up!!!!,Whadda adventure,what is cricket,way to go girlz,you rock all the way. bye cheers from Chennai
April 20, 2011 1:48 am
Keep it up.. That was THE best piece I've read in Dawn till now. Where to next?
April 20, 2011 2:04 am
I appreciate your enthusiasm, but this is kind of scary, They let them cross the border without seeing the tickets?
April 20, 2011 4:04 am
May all the women/girls in Pakistan and India be as free and adventurous as them.
April 20, 2011 8:04 am
Go girls go!!! I have only dreamed of making that journey for TGME, but you guys actually executed it! Way to make us cricket frenzy ladies proud!
April 20, 2011 11:43 am
Politicians are selling fear to the public through controlled media. And here is a new dawn! Think about it in a normal world. Three girls went to watch a cricket game, distance was, say between SFO and LA or San Diego at the most. Not even another coast. But the politicians made it hell. Keep posting comments here or start a facebook page. Soon it will be, "how three girls united India and Pakistan"!!
April 20, 2011 6:22 pm
Well done girls.Your spirit, enthusiasm and CAN DO approach is admirable.SINCERELY WISH THAT WE HAD PERSONS LIKE YOU IN OUR PARLIAMENT. FAROOQ
April 22, 2011 1:51 pm
April 22, 2011 11:58 pm
Hey Ramesh, would you help someone who's desperately keen to do something depending on whether that person is pretty or not? And does that mean you don't help guys at all?
Ahsin Shakil
April 24, 2011 12:48 am
awesome !!!
Adnan Ali
April 24, 2011 2:26 am
It is a bit hard to believe, but if really happened so, I am speechless. India and Pakistan have so many differences but when it comes to cricket or films we are no different at all. This was that - Mother of all Matches - that Pakistan and India are soon going to resume cricket ties.
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