A group of teenagers gets together in front of my house most days of the week and plays cricket. The gate to my house is right behind their wickets. Often, the bowler gets aggressive and the batsman dodges the ball. The wicketkeeper is taken unawares and the ball hits my gate, making it go off like a gong. On an average day, I hear the gong go off at least ten times.
Sometimes, when mom is sitting outside in the sun reading or knitting, she takes a couple of hits as well. Fortunately for the kids, she is not the complaining or the yelling type (as many other aunties in the neighbourhood are).
The cricketers have come to appreciate this fact. Nowadays, whenever she is sitting out, they have three wicketkeepers.
But what does this achieve? Does it make things easier for the kids? Does it make sure the ball won’t come our way?
Nope. None of the above. You know as well as I do that one can never ‘make sure’ bad things don’t happen. But the players’ gesture does make a statement of intent.
They can’t ask mom to stop sitting where she is sitting (it’s her house). She can’t ask the players to stop playing there (she doesn’t own the field). But the kids are willing to do a little extra to try and make sure their game doesn’t become a reason of worry to those around them, just like mom is willing to let a few hits pass without yelling at them.
When the Pakistani government says they want peaceful relations with India, or a political party says they want a ‘strong and prosperous’ India, what I am looking for is intent. The intent needs to show somewhere in order for the trust to start building.