In a final act of careless destruction, Britain inked an arbitrary line that cleaved her former home into two, and spawned two new beings. Born from violence, India and Pakistan were thrust into a world polarised by religion. While Pakistan proclaimed himself Muslim, India declared himself stoutly secular, although according to many he really was as Hindu as they come. For seven decades the two have sought every opportunity to demerit the other.
Stiff backed and erect, Pakistan’s wiry frame and bearded visage accentuated his war-hardened demeanour as he searched for room at the already crowded table. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal sat squeezed together in one corner, while at the head sat India, spread out, with his rotund body lounging on a rickety wooden chair as if it were a throne. At his right sat Afghanistan, weary and wizened but with a steely glint in his eyes. Pakistan shuffled into the seat across from Afghanistan, squeezing in next to Nepal. He caught China’s eye from across the room, her reassurance calmed him a little.
With a nod from India, Afghanistan dealt out the cards.
After a quick glance at his cards, Pakistan cleared his throat, “About Kashmir..” he began.
“Are you going to bring that up again? How many times must I tell you that she is mine? Why don’t you think about something else? Like how broke you are?” India replied lazily.
“Kashmir is mine, and you know it. Ask her yourself, or are you just too scared of hearing it from her own mouth?”
“I don’t need to. She’s mine,” said India primly, smoothing his saffron robes down as he swiftly changed the topic. “Let’s talk about something else, shall we? Afghanistan, tell me how are you doing these days? How’s the family?”
Afghanistan leaned forward and all those seated at the table caught a whiff of the opium he kept tucked under his turban. “We are well, all thanks to you, brother.”
Pakistan scoffed,”Well? Yes, you’re well because you’ve sent all your trouble my way. Not only are half your children living in my house, the bad eggs have come too.”
“Bad eggs?” chuckled Afghanistan throwing down a card. “You’re the one who corrupted them, made them violent when you needed help getting Soviet off your back.”
Two more rounds went by and both Pakistan’s losses and his scowl deepened. After a third round, Pakistan jumped to his feet turning to India again, “And what about my water? You promised me water and now you’re using it for yourself? Have you not integrity?”
“You ask about my integrity? You dare bite the hand that feeds you? I have given you more than your fair share, and until you own up about what you did in 2008, you will never have anything more from me.”
“You? Feed me? You may have made a name for yourself through your trashy films, but your theatrics don’t fool anyone India. We know who you are, how you will trample on anyone to get where you want. One day the tables will turn, and you will be at my mercy,” spat Pakistan throwing his cards on the table as he stormed away.
“Not as long as I have the headwaters,” said India, his fingers coiling around his oiled moustache as he smiled at the cards he held.
Daily Prompt: Burn
Head on over to Prejudice and Politics for more tongue-in-cheek interpretations of international relations. If you’re particularly interested in South Asia, check out this guest post by Kosh from World Through My Eyes.
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