There was a time when I wanted to marry Aisam ul Haq. When he was just starting out. The NEWS’ “US” magazine for children carried his poster which I almost put up on my wall but I did not like the quality and also did not want to take down the multiple Elvis Presley’s (by hindsight I wish I had).

On every trip to Lahore I’d keep an eye out for him. Can we pls go to Lahore Gymkhana? Maybe he is in Anarkali, joota shopping, or in ichra where my mother would drag me. Maybe he is in Fortress… he never was and unlike bloody Cinderella et al, my dream was never realized.

Anyway, I wanted to marry him… then I found out he was younger which crushed my dream.

You see, as a teenager you think these things matter. Age. My being older than him, if only a little, was torturous. Older and wiser now, I know age does not matter in love. I wish I had known that then.

Fast forward many years (number of years and age not mentioned…. Duh!): He is in the US Open Final. The US OPEN… you heard it right… my almost husband… in not one but TWO US Open finals…. And there I felt it, how things change once you become a mother.

I prayed for him like I would for my child. Funny… since I am still very (VERY) young but I did pray as a mother would. I was proud. I wanted him to win for him, not for me, not for Pakistan. Pakistan was lucky enough to have him. Lucky to be blessed with him. He had made us all proud already. We did not need him to win. We wanted him to win.

And then he spoke. Uff! I loved him even more. Looks, brains AND a patriotic heart. I was inspired by how his parents had raised him. Nurtured his talent AND his values. He was lucky to have them.. and we are all lucky to have HIM.

Twenty minutes later whilst watching a ridiculous 20-20 cricket match we lost due to immaturity alone, I am reading about his match on the bloody ticker at the bottom. I should have been there, cheering, clapping, trying to get something signed and giving him a jhappi and telling him I’m proud. And there I was, ruining my husband’s match, telling him how he almost missed his chance with me because of the man who was making Pakistan proud.

GEO Sports news came up and what is the headline news… “Pakistan’s son makes us proud”… or on his speech or his “double” doubles finals.. or the fact that this is the best news Pakistan Sports has had since the 1992 Cricket World Cup….but no, the headline news is a punch in the stomach or more strategic places for some… it’s about some three young Pakistani cricketers returning home to people chanting slogans against them carrying shoes aka littar….

Aisam we are lucky to have you and though many of us don’t yet deserve you, most of us do. You are the knight in shining armour for a nation in deep depression… and though you and I were never meant to be, it is all for the best… you have your tennis and I have my own personal (and older) Knight!

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