In any debate about India and Pakistan, Karachi-born Nazneen Kothari picks India.
The 48-year-old moved to Mumbai from across the border when she got married 25 years ago, and now fiercely defends everything about India on her visits to her maternal home.
“But when it comes to cricket, dil hai Pakistani [my heart is Pakistani],” grinned Kothari, a member of the small tribe of Pakistan-born Indian bahus who usually root for their motherland during cricket matches.
On Wednesday, Kothari’s home in Santacruz will turn into a mini war zone as India clashes with Pakistan in the World Cup semi-final at Mohali.
Her husband, children and other relatives are ardent supporters of India. But even though hers will be the only voice cheering for Pakistan, Kothari is undeterred and plans to host a small house party with biryani.
“Everyone singles me out and teases me during India-Pakistan matches, but it’s all done in a healthy, sporting manner,” said Kothari.
For Nerul resident Hasina Abdulally, however, the answer is clear.
“I spent my childhood and youth in Karachi cheering for Pakistan, and even went with my sisters to watch matches in the stadium,” said Abdulally, 50, who married a Mumbai businessman when she was 24.
When the boys in blue play against any other nation, Abdulally unfailingly roots for India. But if Pakistan opposes India on the field, she knows where her heart is.
“Pakistan had a very good team when I was in my teens, but the current team is unpredictable and India is definitely the stronger one,” said Abdulally, who will watch the match alone at home on Wednesday.
Her husband is not a cricket fan, and her son plans to catch the game at their housing society’s clubhouse.
“At the end of the day, the rivalry is good-natured. When Pakistan wins, my son congratulates me, and when India wins, I wish him.”