The tears of joy that erupted in our eyes when we heard that Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes — the Capulet and Montagu of Indian tennis — have patched up and are ready to play together again for the larger interest of the nation have gone for a lab test. You will be the first ones to know whether our tears were genuine or not. But the announcement, made after a late night meeting in Paris between Paes and All India Tennis Association (AITA) Secretary Anil Khanna sends out signals across the universe. Considering that in the last round of ‘pals-gone-wrong’ utterances, Bhupathi had mentioned he would not play with Paes as the latter had planned to have another doubles partner, the news that the friends have patched up to play at Beijing could provide a message to other ex-pals.
While the chances of Amar Singh and Sonia Gandhi talking at a dinner table still remains unlikely — who knows? — for the sake of the nation, the two may end up playing post-dinner scrabble one day. Then there will be little chance today that Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan will name their respective pets after people other than Shah Rukh and Aamir. But who knows, for the sake of the nation again, they may end up in the same movie with a cameo comic role by Aamir’s fellow blogger, Amitabh Bachchan.
Feuds among friends are part of any longstanding friendship. Look at VS Naipaul and all his ‘friends’. When there was news that John Lennon and Paul McCartney had patched up and were talking to each other again, Beatles fans across the world were hopeful for a reunion. While Paes and Bhupathi should get by with a little help from each other, one can’t help wondering how nicely the two boys keep themselves in the news even when they might not be winning tournaments.