‎India is playing Pakistan in the World Cup on Sunday. You already know that, unless you are visiting from another planet or are an AIB member and have been occupied in getting anticipatory bail. Or you are busy trying to figure out exactly when achchhe din will arrive, or if they in fact already have arrived.

Like me if you wake up early, then you have time before the match starts and are reading this as you while away the moments before the toss. If you wake up late (the match begins at 0830), then you're already in the thick of the action. Either way, I suggest you read this.

Perhaps like me you are tense each time you watch our team play the old enemy. If so, I wanted to share the way in which I plan to deal with this dreadful event. I have been doing it for decades and so have the necessary experience.

It is never easy

My first wish when it comes to cricket is that India not draw Pakistan in the lots or dice or however it is that the fates decide which team plays which. One of the happier fallouts of the tension between the two nations is that cricketing ties have more or less ended. This may have disappointed others, who miss the excitement, and are probably bungee jumpers on the weekend, but it has left me greatly relieved. I dodged a heart attack or two in this last decade.

But here we are in the 2015 World Cup. Combat is upon us and there is no escaping the excitement, the adrenaline and the potential chest pain. So far as I understand cricket, the number of possible outcomes today are three. We will win (please God) or lose, or it will be a tie. I read somewhere that there were four times we played them without result. I'm fine, at the point when the match is yet to begin, to accept a tie. We can all, players, spectators and bookies, go home honourable men, without the torture and trauma such a match often produces.

Indeed, it is not easy, even when our side wins. One has to balance triumph with the correct and appropriate amount of magnanimity. This is particularly so because I have friends who are Pakistanis and whom I am much more fond of than I am of their country.

For instance, if we win today (please God – I won't ask for anything the rest of the month) then we must tell the Pakistanis. "Look, it's true that we were the better team, but you have more wins against us (73) than we do against you (50). So there is something to be said for that."

If on the other hand we lose (this God business being for the weak of mind) I will remind the Pakistanis that this is the first time they have beaten us in the World Cup. We thrashed you in 1992, 1996, 1999, 2004 and 2011, I will say to them. Chalk this win down to the law of averages.

Many responses

Then there is the always present possibility that the match becomes bitter and unpleasant. If that be the case my response must be calibrated accordingly. If things turn particularly nasty and we lose, I shall be forced to remind myself and the Pakistanis that we are a secular democracy and they are a theocratic state. We don’t have bomb blasts going off in our mosques and temples as they seem to have every other day.

Another thing is that our economy is doing swimmingly well while theirs is in the doghouse. What is a cricket match defeat when we are winning in all of this, as the whole world knows?

If, on the other hand, we win this match (I've always kept my faith in you God), then I will be softer. "Yes, we won and we have Bollywood, but your serials are also not bad and many Indians watch them," I shall say.

I wonder, at this point, what exactly I will be feeling at the end of the day when all the joy and triumph and/or tears are behind us. I do not at the moment know.

You see, I am recording ‎this match, as I do every India-Pakistan match. I cannot bear to watch it live. If I hear the firecrackers go off in the neighbourhood, I shall at that point begin to see it.

I read recently that prime minister Narendra Modi called Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif to wish his team well and to say that "cricket promotes goodwill".

Promotes goodwill?! Makes you wonder if he's visiting us from another planet.