The phone rang. The PA picked it up. “Prime Minister’s office,” he said.
The voice at the other end said: “I am speaking from President Zardari’s office. The President would like to speak with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.”
“Okay,” the PA said. “Put him on. I’m transferring the call.”
“Hello,” said Zardari. “Mannu, is that you?”
“Hello, Asif,” Manmohan Singh said. “What’s up?”
“I say Mannu, seen the morning papers? Bopanna and Qureshi have done wonders at the US Open! Isn’t it fantastic?”
“I always told you so, Asif! You never listen. India and Pakistan together can take on the world!”
“Now I believe you. Maybe we should team up too.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“The World Open starts next week. Should I put in our names for the doubles event?
“That’s fine by me,” Mannu said cheerfully…
On the appointed day Asif and Mannu reached the venue with tennis racquets in hand. Asif looked excited. “By the way whom are we playing – America and China?”
“Not so fast,” Mannu said. “This is only the first round. We’re playing Lashkar and Jaish!”
“Oh,” said Asif, somewhat crestfallen. They warmed up by knocking around a few balls. Their opponents did likewise.
The Umpire called out: “Time! Please serve.”
Mannu stood at the baseline to serve. Asif moved up to the net. “I can’t serve,” Mannu complained. “My partner is standing too close for comfort to our opponents. I don’t like that.”
“I have to stand close to them,” Asif protested. “Otherwise how else will I volley when they try to shoot winners?” There followed a heated whispered argument between Mannu and Asif.
“Please serve,” the Umpire shouted impatiently. “Love all!”
Mannu threw down his racquet. “I can’t love all,” he shouted. “I can’t love Lashkar and Jaish!” The crowd booed.
“Match suspended,” the Umpire said in disgust. Asif and Mannu picked up their tennis gear dejectedly and started to walk away. Suddenly Asif snapped his fingers. “An idea!” he shouted excitedly. “Why not ask Bopanna and Qureshi to take on Lashkar and Jaish?”
“Brilliant,” gushed Mannu. “What an idea, Sirji…!”
We’re a unique doubles team,
Our performance is a scream!
We play against each other,
The opposition’s like our brother!