So Shahid Afridi's got on a lot of people's nerves, after he returned home? Yes, mine too; in that sense rather reminiscent of Shoaib Malik apologizing to Muslims across the globe after losing the T20 World Cup final to India in '07.
But let's make a shortlist of things Afridi may have had in mind, why not?
* "Once he gives the aadesh, who can flout it?" -- a Shiv Sena leader tells us last February that his leader will "decide" whether Pakistan can play in Mumbai if they reach the final.
* "randee key bachay u give full toss to javed" and other choice abuse directed at Chetan Sharma. Part of one of the comments on this clip, of an event that happened a quarter century (!) ago. (i.e. it's even odds that the commenter wasn't even born when the event happened).
* That same event from a quarter century ago described as a "collective traumatic wound".
* The Indians who buzzed around my neighbourhood late into the night after India beat Pakistan in the semifinals, shouting "Pakistan ke maa ki chut!"
* Remarks such as "you fuck afridi have biggest heart for terrorist extremist rapist", besides plenty more.
* Gautam Gambhir being asked if beating Pakistan "will soothe the pain" of the victims of 26/11, and replying "I am sure the win against Pakistan would have helped."
* Gambhir is told: "whatever we do, whoever we play, we should never lose to Pakistan".
Some of this is just the usual paranoia about Pakistan too many Indians seem unable to shake.
I wonder though, about cricket "fans" who seem uninterested in who else the Indian team loses to, so long as we "never lose to Pakistan". My hope is that someday we will tell Gambhir: go play your heart out and win every time, whether your opponent is Australia or Pakistan or Zimbabwe or Fiji. We're not obsessed merely with beating Pakistan.
I also wonder how beating Pakistan helps "soothe the pain" of the 26/11 victims. Leave aside the "it's just a game" (it never is) rhetoric. What is the connection between the murderous scum who came ashore to kill Indians in November 2008 and Afridi's team?
The scum and the team are all Pakistani, you say?
Then consider this: what is the connection between the murderous scum who killed 3000 Indians in Delhi in 1984 and Dhoni's team? Those scum and the team are all Indian, right? So how would you react if someone said that beating the Indian team will help "soothe the pain" of the 3000 victims of the 1984 massacre? How would you react if someone said our loss to South Africa in the league stage of the World Cup had helped "soothe the pain" of the victims of the 1984 massacre?
I know how I'd react: with revulsion and nausea. The absurdity of such a suggestion is matched only by the absurdity of Gambhir's suggestion about 26/11. Yet not only was Gambhir not asked questions about this absurdity, the headline on that news item is "I play for India, I play for people of my country."
I've seen some baffled comment about Afridi, saying that since he was applauded for his remarks in Pakistan, the middle class there must agree with him, they must have similar attitudes towards India. Well, what should we make of the reaction in India to Gambhir's remark, as also to the other remarks I've quoted above? Do we agree with Gambhir's remark?
Be outraged over Afridi, sure. (I am). But there may be something to be learned from the friendly neighbourhood mirror.