Noida, Feb 17 (IANS) Until February 13, Ranveer Nangia, Akash Singh, Ahmed A. Sheikh, Mayank and Rishabh Tiwari greeted each other with “How’s the Josh?” Of course it had started only recently, but come February 15, things have undergone a sea change.
Yes, the ‘Josh’ is there, but there was also an extra dose of aggression on the football field. Balls were being kicked around with killer force… As Akash’s ball hit the net, he shouted out: “There, that’s how we should hit the terrorists.”
The parents off the field were shocked. However, no one said anything. Each waited for the half time. Not that they did not know where it all came from.
For that very morning, instead of discussing school and tiffin, friends and foes, “Captain Marvel”, “Infinity Endgame”, and “Frozen 2”, these 10 and 11-year-olds rapped: “Apna time ayega, Pakistan tere boti boti khayega”.
They had discussed in detail the troopers killed in the Pulwama terrorist attack.
Fresh from their not long ago Sunday outing of “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, the Pulwama mayhem of Thursday came too soon.
Ranveer said: “The terrorists have invited another Uri on themselves….” But before he could finish, Akash, 11, and a year older, said, “How? Now they know.”
Divyanshi Panday and Tanvi Nangia, who usually do not bother with the boys banter, could not help themselves on Friday.
Ahmed’s mother, Heba Bano, said, “What can I say, everyone was in shock. We have friends posted in Jammu and Assam.”
“Ahmed wants to be in the Force on day,” she said.
So does Ranveer. A little plump, he did three extra rounds of the football field in the warm-up session.
In the crammed shared ride back home, suggestions poured in on how India should give a befitting reply.
Opinions differed, but one thing was certain: more than seven decades after its formation, another generation of Indians see Pakistan as a hostile, enemy country.
(Indrani Ghosh can be contacted at email@example.com)