by Gamini Weerkoon
Bumpy sprinted up the gangway and just made it to his seat in the special charter flight carrying the Colombo Fifty to Mumbai. He was by no means pleased to recognise his classmate of 50 years ago, Stinko seated next to him.
Bumpy greeted him with a ‘Hello, Hello Stinko’ though not too pleased at his discovery.
Why was Stinko on his way to Mumbai to watch Lanka’s conquering heroes playing the mighty Injuns when Stinko did not play any cricket in the days gone by — not even marbles, Bumpy queried.
Stinko too was not too pleased to meet his old friend.
I say you scribblers, as usual you must have got a free ticket to watch the match. But don’t start writing your stories even before take-off. Why don’t you bump off to another seat, Bumpy? he suggested. Bumpy was not the kind of reporter to be put off.
Stinko, you can’t be interested in cricket when you didn’t even play marbles at school. Are you in the Secret Service watching out for terrorists trying to bump off this precious Colombo Fifty? Or are you in Internal Security on the watch out for the unpatriotic types who might cheer the Injuns? You should be good at that. In class you were the monitor who used to sneak to teachers about us reading comics and sex books hidden below the text books, Bumpy recalled.
Stinko was hurt.
You call yourself a journalist? Don’t you know that I am now an authority on Cricket Diplomacy in the Unipolar World. That is why I am invited to be in this Colombo Fifty. Pakistani PM Gilani is to watch the match seated alongside Manmohan Singh to solve age old Indo-Pak problems. I am to write a research paper on that.
Bumpy: Was it you who inspired an invitation to John Key, the New Zealand premier for the Lanka-New Zealand match? He didn’t come. You know those chaps take their jobs seriously rather than watch cricket. The Kiwis suffered two earthquakes. Key would have been sacked from his job if he took off to Colombo to watch cricket when the nation is mourning. Other chaps may watch cricket even if the country is devastated by floods or droughts and half the rice crop is gone but not these Western types.
You also made a diplomatic gaffe by inviting this Kiwi leader after failing to invite Pak leaders for the Pak-Sri Lanka match. You people keep saying that it is with Pak arms that we won the war against terrorism. And you didn’t invite David Cameron when we played England. We may be risking an invitation for the Royal Wedding.
Stinko: You don’t known any thing about diplomacy. Haven’t you heard of ping-pong diplomacy which led to the Sino-American rapprochement with Henry Kissinger and Mao Tse Tung raising their champagne glasses in the Great Hall of the People?
Bumpy: Hello, Hello Stinko. Now you are being erudite like Wimal Weerawansa and some of these JHU types on world affairs. Tell me honestly, what’s you racket? Are you on assignment for the CIA, PIA, RAW or UFTAU (Unpatriotic Federalist Traitors Against Us). Don’t give me that Bull S… about Cricket Diplomacy in the Unipolar….. etc .
Stinko: OK, but don’t write a word. If you do, you will get a white van following you. You know whether you like cricket diplomacy or not it’s the latest way to success. How do you think I am in this select band of 50 to Mumbai? You see, I have a son who wants to be a diplomat. I told him that it’s of no use going abroad for studies or to one of our always closed universities. The surest way is to play cricket after scraping through the GCE-OL and get selected to play for Sri Lanka. After that he can become an MP or even a minister. But if you don’t want to be a minister or anything like that you can be a career diplomat. I am telling you all this because I need your assistance on this trip later on.
Bumpy: But how, a career diplomat?
Stinko: Haven’t you heard? First get your putha in as a clerk, telephonist or better a PR man to a western embassy. Cricket and GCE OL will qualify him for the job. He will begin harassing the ambassador (of course with my assistance from this end). Then the ambassador goes on leave making my putha act in a post of diplomatic rank. Thereafter it’s open sesame.
Bumpy: Where am I supposed to come in?
Stinko: The moment we land in Mumbai you take me to those Indian cricketing greats: Tendulkar, Gavasakar, Manjrekar and all those ‘Kars’ and Singhs. After that I will at a party that follows the match introduce our ‘bossa’, ‘poddi ekas’ and the family to them. There will be photographers, video cameramen all round us. You will get the Indian Greats putting their arms around like what Gaddafi did. If we win the cup all the better.
Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi will tell what a great nation we are. I will make a short speech and say victory was possible only because of the Mahinda Chintanaya. If we lose never mind. The game’s the thing, Sanga will say. When we are back we will splash it all over in multi-colour in our presses, radio and TV. This will be the greatest of victories to the Rajapaksas after the victory over terrorism. So don’t pooh-pooh cricket diplomacy. ~ courtesy: the sunday leader.lk ~