I am an expat. I have two young kids. I love being a mom. Let me get that out of the way before I move on to what my blog is really about. I’m a full time mother and people tell me that while they have seen many children be super-attached to their moms, they have seen few mothers who are as attached to their kids as I am. I don’t have a nanny, I don’t have full-time help. My one kid is six and the other is just one month shy of being a year old. They’re both tough ages, since the elder one is still adjusting to multiple country-hopping moves and the younger one is just beginning to walk and has stepped into the ever-lovely separation anxiety phase. Parents who are reading this will know just how nasty this phase can be - and just how difficult kids can be when they want to be.

Now that I’ve told what a hands-on parent I am to two young kids and that I have very little help – let me tell you why I’m so angry right now at every person who is spurning on Pakistan Super League.

I’m angry because there are these commentators in our country who spend all day preaching and acting high and mighty about how they know what’s best for everyone else – but when it comes to someone actually doing something good, they’ll waste no time in looking down upon it. I’m angry because there are people who stomp and cry about how India is doing much better than us but when it comes to actually cleaning up our own act or appreciating anything good that happens in our country, they’ll do nothing more except pass snide comments.

Or they’ll just simply call it ‘cynicism’. Like Mr. Nusrat Javed did in his recent column in Nawa-e-Waqt.

Now I’m cynical of Zarb-e-Azb and foolish slogans and elitism and racism in the bourgeoisie as much as the next armchair activist, but for ‘experts’ like Nusrat Javed to scoff at Pakistan Super League is another problem altogether. Mainly because in his last column, the reason he cited for not being ‘interested’ in PSL is because he’s … old?

My mom and my two boys

Mr. Nusrat Javed, my mother is a sixty-year-old hypertensive diabetic. She walked 2 kilometers and sat with me and my two young kids for six hours, laughing, taking pictures, cheering for Pakistan, as songs rang through Dubai International Cricket Stadium, as our favorite players ran all over the pitch and my six-year-old son, who doesn’t understand cricket much, laughed and cheered and jumped when there was a wicket or a sixer.

In one of the matches, I went with my Lahore Qalandar fan (and I am a Karachi Kings’ girl) and we ended up loving the experience. Asrar performed in the match break and we danced and sang along and she called it, “one of the best times she’s had listening to a performer” because he immediately revved up the audience with Sab Aakho Ali Ali. In another match, my husband came to the stadium straight from work and we cheered equally for Islamabad United and Karachi Kings. He and I and our two kids will attend the evening matches as well. He loves cricket and so do I and we thoroughly appreciate the fantastic effort by Pakistan Cricket Board to organize something as remarkable as the PSL.

With my Lahore Qalandars friend

My husband and I (Photo Ammad Zahid)

The problem is you, Mr. Nusrat Javed. The problem is not PSL.

The problem is not even Dubai. Pakistan’s security risks are still tangible, even what with all the 90% cleared area and the broken backs of terrorists statements that we hear day in and day out from our government and military establishment. This was Pakistan’s first credible international sporting venture that, for good reason, is being held in a place where they made sure that they couldn’t afford anything that even remotely resembled or had the risk of what happened to the Sri Lankan players in Lahore.

The United Arab Emirates has almost 37% Indians and Pakistanis. Pakistan Super League also incorporates Bangladeshi, Zimbabwean and English players which also account and correspond for a considerable expat population here in the UAE. If there was any place that was good for Pakistanis to attend a sporting event, it is the UAE.

The ‘cynicism’ of people like Nusrat Javed and many other Pakistanis like him are the reason why events like these aren’t as big of a success as they could have been. The attendance in the first two matches was 70%. Which is pretty decent, if you ask me. However, in the weekday match between Karachi Kings and Islamabad United, the crowd was much lesser. But that was understandable since the Dubai working day is as crazy as it is hectic.

Fans in the General Admission

However, you’d be surprised to know that most of the people who were attending the match were people from the lower-income group. The stands with the expensive tickets were totally empty on the weekday match. On the opening day of PSL, I sat in the relatively expensive stands and was disappointed to see that the people sitting with or around us barely cheered or jumped or wore funny hats or had cute posters as those sitting in the seats where the cheaper tickets were sold. I mean, what, are we too cool to cheer for our teams now?

The next couple of matches that I saw were from the cheaper tickets, where I was surrounded by mostly men from blue-collar jobs. One guy behind me was frantically calling his supervisor, telling him that he has another man to cover his shift because he simply couldn’t miss Peshawar Zalmis’ innings. The family sitting next to me were a parenting couple and a little girl who had come all the way from Ajman. Sure it got crazy for a bit what with all the crazy city rivalry and hooting but that’s the fun part isn’t it? The madness? The chaos? Isn’t that what the essence of Pakistani cricket basically ends up being? Laughter and tears and joy and frenzy and pandemonium?

Fans supporting Peshawar Zalmi

In the next match that comes back to Dubai Cricket Stadium, I am taking my kids, my friend, and have asked a helper to just come for a few hours and come along to the match with me. I am doing this because I love cricket and I love the energy and I love being part of something that is bigger than my ego. I love believing in something other than my own narcissism that shoots down others just so it can make my own self feel better. I am doing it because I don’t want to be one of those hypocrites who would pay one thousand dirhams to see Shah Rukh Khan or David Guetta in Dubai but wouldn’t attend a 20 dhs PSL match. Or one of those people who could come to Dubai for ‘shadi shopping’ but not to support Pakistan’s matches. Or those people who would happily root for PSL if the organizers had given them free tickets and VVIP protocol (I’m looking at you, Nusrat Javed) but currently choose to have a problem with PSL because … Quetta’s team is called Gladiators?

With my kids at Karachi vs Quetta

You can choose. You can be a part of something great. Make memories. Love the thrill of the game. Cheer your favorite players. Believe that something great is happening for Pakistan. Or you can sit at home, be miserable, wallow in self pity and be Nusrat Javed.

I’m choosing to attend the next match. What about you?