How the girls got to Mohali

Published Apr 15, 2011 01:43pm

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 (163) Closed




Asad Shairani
Apr 15, 2011 01:52pm
You should've mentioned the friends you ditched for the Eng-SL match to apply for the visa! :P
Hassan Raza
Apr 15, 2011 02:15pm
I think you guys have the coolest parents ever to let you do all this
Sunil Gautam
Apr 15, 2011 02:19pm
great narrative, well done girls! Do visit again.
Amal@Europe
Apr 15, 2011 07:20pm
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
Apr 15, 2011 07:32pm
Well Done. Forget past and build future to remove Boarder.
Asim
Apr 15, 2011 07:40pm
Lolz..................
Akbar
Apr 15, 2011 07:49pm
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
Apr 15, 2011 07:50pm
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.
Nidz
Apr 15, 2011 07:51pm
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?
Chandra
Apr 15, 2011 07:59pm
Interesting read & good to see the happy ending. Hope u had a good time in India.
Ravi Khanna
Apr 15, 2011 08:05pm
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?
surinder
Apr 15, 2011 08:18pm
Interesting.
Vasan
Apr 15, 2011 08:32pm
Here's an alternative: Three young MEN tried this. LOL! And Woohoo! Before they knew they were in Jail!
Rahul
Apr 15, 2011 09:42pm
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.
vj
Apr 15, 2011 09:49pm
yea that is 200% correct..
khalid
Apr 15, 2011 09:49pm
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.
Babloo
Apr 15, 2011 09:56pm
Loved the report. Thanks for sharing. You girls are true cricket fans.
Amit Jain
Apr 15, 2011 10:35pm
Good that you found three large hearted Indians.
Naeem
Apr 15, 2011 10:36pm
Very interesting, loved reading the story & could feel the excitement as if I was there. Keep up the good work!
raja jaria
Apr 15, 2011 10:43pm
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
Apr 15, 2011 10:52pm
I was quickly reading the narrative hoping for happy outcome. Smooth and free flowing writing.
Abid
Apr 15, 2011 10:53pm
Way to go girls!!!!
Naseer
Apr 15, 2011 11:05pm
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 !!!
kk
Apr 15, 2011 11:07pm
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.
faraz
Apr 15, 2011 11:46pm
quite awesome!!!. i envy your courage. win for the green shirts wud hav been quite topping, still the expirence .. ah
Karim
Apr 15, 2011 11:52pm
oohh wow! brave girls! u did it! i think u had done a superb job! btw how was ur four-day experience in india?
Vikas
Apr 16, 2011 12:18am
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!
Ahmed
Apr 16, 2011 12:23am
@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.
Hassan
Apr 16, 2011 12:36am
well dude obviously they only applied for the visa 3-4 days before....if u apply earlier u would certainly get it.
Pritash
Apr 16, 2011 01:15am
"They couldn’t believe we had crossed the border without tickets. (“Who are you guys? Hide your wallet, KP!” - LOL...you vikings
Jass
Apr 16, 2011 02:01am
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.
Mas
Apr 16, 2011 02:09am
Good story for yash raj new movie.lol
Vikash Bansal
Apr 16, 2011 02:10am
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
Nauman
Apr 16, 2011 02:20am
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 ;)
kopkokokok
Apr 16, 2011 02:25am
great story, very exciting, shame about the end result of the game. How did u make your way home after the match :-P lol
Rids
Apr 16, 2011 02:34am
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
Apr 16, 2011 03:06am
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
Apr 16, 2011 03:21am
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.
Subhash
Apr 16, 2011 05:25am
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.
siddharth
Apr 16, 2011 06:28am
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!!
ANON
Apr 16, 2011 07:33am
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
Apr 16, 2011 07:37am
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.
Piyush
Apr 16, 2011 08:00am
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.
Kashif
Apr 16, 2011 08:15am
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
Apr 16, 2011 08:54am
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.
Khaleeq-ul-Mairaj
Apr 16, 2011 09:39am
Well its good LOL pEaCe OuT
Omer
Apr 16, 2011 10:19am
It could have been icing on the cake if u could have made Pakistan won the match!!!
mala
Apr 16, 2011 11:17am
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!
Praveen
Apr 16, 2011 11:24am
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
Apr 16, 2011 11:33am
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..
Aasha
Apr 16, 2011 11:39am
Wow girls! What a splendid read, well done!! Loved your spirit, Pakistani girls have it all!!!
peer faisal
Apr 16, 2011 11:54am
oh!nice .............of pakistan at the top......keep it up
peer faisal
Apr 16, 2011 12:02pm
oh! seems yours understand..............
guru b
Apr 16, 2011 12:03pm
There's a movie in there somewhere. Awesome.
Karthik
Apr 16, 2011 12:40pm
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
Ilyas
Apr 16, 2011 01:13pm
Amazing reading, end well all well.. Finally you did it,
Mukesh Bhalla
Apr 16, 2011 01:36pm
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
sajjad
Apr 16, 2011 02:04pm
love you girls, great job
Kumar
Apr 16, 2011 02:26pm
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
Apr 16, 2011 02:48pm
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
Apr 16, 2011 03:22pm
That's the spirit. Dont let it fade for the rest of your lives. Bravo. Rakesh Mehta
Sarthak Mohapatra
Apr 16, 2011 03:26pm
Well done girls.
Raman
Apr 16, 2011 03:34pm
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.
Prafulla
Apr 16, 2011 03:34pm
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?
GKrishnan
Apr 16, 2011 03:42pm
Like climbing Mount Everest ?
Firoz Syed
Apr 16, 2011 03:52pm
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
Apr 16, 2011 04:07pm
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
Apr 16, 2011 04:23pm
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
Deepak
Apr 16, 2011 04:32pm
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..
Saif
Apr 16, 2011 05:06pm
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
Apr 16, 2011 05:17pm
Absolutely Fantatic! Loved it:) Way to go girls:)
Al
Apr 16, 2011 05:34pm
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.
srispiky
Apr 16, 2011 05:42pm
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 life.to everyone have a nice weekend..
Gauhar Vatsyayan
Apr 16, 2011 06:09pm
All of u three girls are amazingly beautiful.... :)
Masood
Apr 16, 2011 06:24pm
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
Apr 16, 2011 07:08pm
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
Apr 16, 2011 07:10pm
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
Apr 16, 2011 07:24pm
Nice one, superbly written!! captures the passion more accurately than any other two dozen articles forced down our throats by the 'regular' media.
aditi
Apr 16, 2011 08:44pm
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
mudassar
Apr 16, 2011 11:06pm
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 .
n.ramakrishnan
Apr 16, 2011 11:34pm
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.
bharat
Apr 17, 2011 12:16am
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..
Vikky
Apr 17, 2011 12:24am
Beautifully written. You rock.
AC_Indian
Apr 17, 2011 12:45am
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
Apr 17, 2011 01:29am
...that's a great story!! ....and superbly written... congratulations!!!
Jinu
Apr 17, 2011 02:12am
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
Apr 17, 2011 03:26am
Wow.....Kudos for your commitment. Would love to read more from you.
waji
Apr 17, 2011 04:07am
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
Ali
Apr 17, 2011 06:06am
Awesome Story!! loved reading it. I never thought that Pakistani girls can be this bold.
Rajesh K Sharma
Apr 17, 2011 06:14am
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)"
Mark
Apr 17, 2011 06:18am
Wow...that was some adventure! Congratulations from an Indian friend.
gary gupta
Apr 17, 2011 08:24am
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
Apr 17, 2011 08:48am
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
VivaVizag
Apr 17, 2011 09:11am
You go girlz!! So how was your experience in India??
Muhammad Asghar
Apr 17, 2011 09:53am
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.
WdX
Apr 17, 2011 10:32am
Brilliant read!
lightning
Apr 17, 2011 10:52am
If only we would be this passionate about something more meaningful than cricket....
Manek Shergill
Apr 17, 2011 11:03am
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 :)
Vam
Apr 17, 2011 11:41am
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
Apr 17, 2011 01:05pm
Congrats for making impossible possible. I suggest you should seriosuly think of channeling your energies to something more positive!
Anand
Apr 17, 2011 01:13pm
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
Radhika
Apr 17, 2011 01:35pm
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]
Apr 17, 2011 02:15pm
you are most welcome visit Nankana sahib and lahore you will love it
Sundeep
Apr 17, 2011 02:24pm
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
Apr 17, 2011 02:55pm
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...
santosh
Apr 17, 2011 03:29pm
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
Apr 17, 2011 03:33pm
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
Raju
Apr 17, 2011 04:14pm
lovely story -I read it a bit fast but promised myself to read it again - very enjoyable -great writing
Kishor Garewal
Apr 17, 2011 04:17pm
Vow, Vow Vow.. Girls u r the Torch of Today. Light us, ALL for Tomorrow. God bless you. K
AD
Apr 17, 2011 04:27pm
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
Apr 17, 2011 04:34pm
as Sana's father, I gratefully acknowledge the compliment.
Shehryar Khan
Apr 17, 2011 06:09pm
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.
Raghu
Apr 17, 2011 06:14pm
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
Apr 17, 2011 06:33pm
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
Apr 17, 2011 07:02pm
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
Javed
Apr 17, 2011 08:18pm
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
Apr 17, 2011 08:40pm
Beautiful story,enjoyed reading every word.Allah bless you. Ata ur Rahman
khk
Apr 17, 2011 08:50pm
Wonderful fiction.
Zi@ R Qureshi
Apr 17, 2011 09:09pm
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
Apr 17, 2011 09:26pm
Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Noreen
Apr 17, 2011 09:34pm
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.
h.MANI
Apr 17, 2011 10:16pm
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.
joy
Apr 17, 2011 10:52pm
go girls go we Indians are not even half as efficient as u guys are...but then we Just Do It
Gingerbreadman
Apr 17, 2011 11:00pm
Respect to the author for taking on such a big adventure and seeing it through to the end. ^_^
Gaurav Shandilya
Apr 18, 2011 12:45am
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
AHP
Apr 18, 2011 01:00am
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
Apr 18, 2011 01:17am
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.
Ramesh
Apr 18, 2011 02:37am
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.
SS
Apr 18, 2011 03:43am
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
Apr 18, 2011 05:50am
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!!!
Mike
Apr 18, 2011 07:13am
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
Apr 18, 2011 07:20am
All I can say ladies: You Go Girl! ;-)
Milind
Apr 18, 2011 07:26am
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
UK
Apr 18, 2011 07:50am
U guys should make a movie out of this story, like "the new york minute", very nice...
Ashish
Apr 18, 2011 08:21am
3 Boys from Karachi no problem for us. Had it been 3 Boys from Punjab we would have been jittery.
skeptic
Apr 18, 2011 09:43am
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 more...how long did you stay there....Details???
sathish
Apr 18, 2011 09:45am
life is so beautiful and every second of life has jus one aim...to 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
Apr 18, 2011 10:17am
Enjoyed Like a FRESH-AIR . what a fresh mind-set , keep it up . God BLEES You .Salute to your spirit. R K H (India )
karunakar
Apr 18, 2011 10:28am
bingo
TMQ
Apr 18, 2011 10:31am
long live Pakistan and womanfolk who steer their way out.
Sunil
Apr 18, 2011 10:48am
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
Apr 18, 2011 11:03am
Nice Story
Sushant Biswas
Apr 18, 2011 11:59am
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
AD
Apr 18, 2011 01:39pm
100% Agreed! That was exactly what I tried to say in my comments below...
Global Citizen
Apr 18, 2011 05:57pm
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
Apr 18, 2011 06:00pm
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
Apr 19, 2011 01:34am
Well, i don't see any negative comment from Pakistani males - You should read the comments again... Anyways - Girls - you have done gr8!!!!
Malini
Apr 19, 2011 02:39pm
You go girls! Admire the efforts and tenacity and hope us Indian received you with much warmth and hospitality.
Yawar
Apr 19, 2011 06:34pm
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.
Kamal
Apr 19, 2011 08:31pm
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
Apr 19, 2011 09:10pm
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.
Manoj
Apr 20, 2011 12:55am
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.
mano
Apr 20, 2011 01:23am
Whadda write up!!!!,Whadda adventure,what is cricket,way to go girlz,you rock all the way. bye cheers from Chennai
cherian
Apr 20, 2011 01:48am
Keep it up.. That was THE best piece I've read in Dawn till now. Where to next?
Gans
Apr 20, 2011 02:04am
I appreciate your enthusiasm, but this is kind of scary, They let them cross the border without seeing the tickets?
whatever99
Apr 20, 2011 04:04am
May all the women/girls in Pakistan and India be as free and adventurous as them.
Sawliha
Apr 20, 2011 08:04am
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!
Krish
Apr 20, 2011 11:43am
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"!!
farooq
Apr 20, 2011 06:22pm
Well done girls.Your spirit, enthusiasm and CAN DO approach is admirable.SINCERELY WISH THAT WE HAD PERSONS LIKE YOU IN OUR PARLIAMENT. FAROOQ
VIVEK, DELHI
Apr 22, 2011 01:51pm
FANTASTIC........................... COME AGAIN WE WILL WELCOME YOU. GOD BLESS INDIA PAKISTAN.
Rohit
Apr 22, 2011 11:58pm
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
Apr 24, 2011 12:48am
awesome !!!
Adnan Ali
Apr 24, 2011 02:26am
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.