Like all Indians in Pakistan, we have learnt to live with our shalwar-kurta clad, Yamaha-riding shadows. We quite like them because they follow us around town faithfully, making us feel what we are not -- IMPORTANT.
In the two years we have spent on this side of the Wagah border, we've had very little trouble with them. We've perfected the art of stealing glances at them when they are not looking, or when we think they are not, and concluded that they are all chips off the same block.
So we were pleasantly surprised when we discovered that a baseball cap and denim-wearing chubby-cheeked guy, broiling in the May sun, was our new shadow. We would often see him parked under a tree opposite our house, chatting with private security guards from other homes or playing cricket with kids.
He would sometimes follow me as I went to the market to buy veggies and peer at me through his Aviator glasses, always from the same spot -- almost apologetically. He would follow me back home and then take up his turn to bat.
My husband and I decided to call him James Bond. Soon we got used to having him around us. Often we would feel sorry that he had to spend long hours in the sweltering heat to keep an eye on us as we did nothing more than sit in the comfort of our home.
One July afternoon, it was unusually hot, and we saw James Bond wearing his trademark pink shirt and fanning himself with a newspaper. My husband and I decided to send him and the guards a drink. We saw him accept the drink from our maid with some reluctance.
We sent word to him that he could ask for a chilled glass of water or anything else whenever he wanted. We were happy that he accepted our offer.
Sadly, that was the last time we saw James Bond. His heart stopped beating the next day -- some security guards told my husband that he had died of a sudden heart attack. But when I stand on the terrace of our home and look across the street, I sometimes think I can still see him sitting on his motorcycle, baseball cap on his head and keeping a watchful eye from behind his sunglasses.