It was a place where playing cricket was a compulsion and not a necessity and most topnotch players, fearing for their health and physical well-being, preferred to give the "uncivilised world" a miss.
This perception has changed to the extent that the same world now finds India the most beneficial place to be in and would not mind even losing a "limb" for financial gains.
We in India need not be afflicted by any sort of inferiority complex and don't even need to be defensive when it comes to convincing the world that the "white" skin is immune to the bomb blasts that strike terror all around.
The Australians, who never stop giving sermons on ethics, morality and use the need for being "fair" to justify their actions, have decided to go ahead with the Indian tour. The same Australians, who last month said a firm no to Pakistan on the grounds that it is not a safe place to visit, probably did not even take a second to say yes to India.
We are not complaining. Why should we! It only adds strength to the argument that the "civilised" world cares for dollars as much as the "uncivilised" world does. And when comforts, like a wonderful off-the-field life, get added to the menu, anyone will be mad to turn their back on us.
India need not look towards the Nuclear Deal to convince itself that they have arrived on the international scene. That the Australians have said yes to us, without even any persuasion, is a stronger sign that we are now part of the first world.
Poor Pakistan! What does it have to offer to the cricketing world? Neither sponsors flush with money, or mouthwatering prospects to play in a league like IPL and no social life which can tempt the young, fit hulks.
So, terrorism, in such hostile circumstances, becomes a greater danger and a convenient justification to wear the mask of self-righteousness.
PS: Did I hear someone say that the Australians did not want to select Andrew Symonds for the India tour and that disciplining him was just a ruse to justify his omission? The reason given is that the Australians fear that Symonds would be targeted by the Indians - if not the players, surely by the crowds - and the pressure would have been too much to handle, for the player as well as the team.
So, they created a situation where there was a need to discipline him for his "misdeeds" when Bangladesh came calling.
Well, agreed, this may be too wild a conspiracy theory to be taken seriously. But when we live in a world of masks, reality acquires many faces.