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Bob Chacha & Pakistan

By Dhondy
October 8 2004

When Bob walked into Shahryar Khan's office that morning for his interview, he found the old aristocrat still counting the cash from the Indian series. He kept it all in a gunnybag under the bed. Who trusted banks in this part of the world anyway? "Sit down Bob. What can I offer you? Cognac? Beaujolais?"

Until a couple of months ago, Shahryar was making do with desi hooch. But since the cash had come in, he was beginning to enjoy the little trappings of luxury.

"Sorry, don't drink myself". He did fancy a sundowner now and then, but he would be damned if he was going to let this job go because he was seen as drinking man. He'd heard that alcohol was frowned on in these parts, and had prepared himself accordingly. There was serious money to be had here. So what if the chief preferred a tot or two himself.

"OK Bob. Here's the job I have for you. We have been looking for a full time employee to answer the emails of Pakistani supporters, queries on team selection, things like that. Can you do the job?"

Bob was amused. "Why do you need me for this. You could have done this yourself".

Shahryar slipped another 5 dollars into the gunnybag. "No, we can't be bothered. Everytime we lose, these fans go mental and hurl stinkers at us. I have been personally accused of match fixing. Even the General wasn't spared. Why should we take the blame if the eleven blighters in the field can't play cricket for nuts? So we are paying you to do the job."

Bob paused for thought. This sounded tricky. "Erm...what about coaching? Would you expect me to do any?"

"Not really. Just stick to the emails. We'll provide you with a book of jokes to deflect any tough questions. I personally find the jokes quite inane, but the fans are sure to laugh at it. They won't know a joke from an obituary anyway. Punjabis, you see!"

Bob nearly made a retort about Pathans, but just stopped himself in time. "What about job security?" he enquired politely.

Shahryar moved his ample bottom to let out the remains of last night's biriyani. This guy was hard to fool! "Oh you will have plenty of security. We've only had 10 coaches or so in the last 5 years. That's six months to a coach. The last two prime ministers of the country didn't last that long. Do you see?"

Bob saw it all. "Oh well then. But do you have any guys who could win some matches for me?" He was conscious of his image, after all.

Shahryar grimaced. "Not really. But that's part of the job, you see. You have to try and pass this lot off as talented, although some of them can't spell the word. It would also help if you called them gentlemen, et cetera. Ok, some of them try and kill each other when they play football, and one or two have a wife at every port, and a guy once stole a jeep, oh.. and all of them had a payback when we chucked that match with Bangladesh... but apart from that, they are gentlemen. Wouldn't you agree?"

Bob had no other intention but to agree. He could already see the shiny new greenbacks in his mind. "Yup, I'll take the job".

Outside, a man paused and stared at the grey haired white man laughing almost maniacally to himself. "Why are you laughing, sahib?" He asked.

Bob looked at him through the tears of mirth, "I am on my way to the bank, that's why!"

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