Wednesday, June 21, 2006

On being Brown, loving Red and Blue, but most importantly, being indifferent to Yellow...

I was born in 1983. We won the World Cup that year. It gave the common men of a struggling nation a reason to rejoice. We were world beaters. Only eight countries had participated in this "World Cup." So What? Haven't you heard of the Baseball "World Series" which includes all of Japan, Canada and USA?

And that's precisely where my love for cricket originiated from. It is important to love what you are good at.

More importantly, I will die defending the game. Just like every Indian I know. Anyway, trouble crept into paradise when an uncle of mine introduced me to what he called footie. I knew little about it. What I did find out was that it didn't go well with beer and buddies. My best friend said "Football is anything but a Brown Man's Game!"

I educated my ignorant friend by letting him know that Hispanics were quite brown w.r.t. the colour chart.

He told me to move to Calcutta. Instead, I moved the T.V. into my room.
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It was 1998. The year of the World Cup. France was hosting. Brazil were the favourites. The whole world stopped and watched, so did Calcutta, and a fourteen year old boy from Delhi. His doubts were put to rest. He was in love.

Colours always fascinated him. He was obsessed with Red, Blue and Black. 1998 was blue. Zidane became the first face to grace l'Arc de Triomphe. The boy bought a blue sweater that winter.

2000 was blue, again. My sweater was still as good as new.
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By 2002, my peers caught up with footie. I became the local authority on the game. I could quote match statistics, contract details, league standings et al. Some friends of mine used bet on the matches; and they took my advice.

I remember I was in Bangalore that year (College). Blue went out of style but I hung on to my sweater which was visibly weathered. My hopes now rested on England, but they ran into Yellow (Read: Brazil) a little too soon.

The England vs Brazil Quarter Final was a disappointment. England scored early and went on the defensive. A young Brazilian midfielder took the English to task scoring a 40 yard goal and orchestrating the other with a brilliant pass. This young man was to become the FIFA World Footballer of the year in 2006. The world knows him as Ronaldinho. I like him.

Brazil went on to reach the finals where they faced the Germans. I knew that if Germany were to win the World Cup, they needed the talismanic Ballack. As luck would have it, Ballack had to sit out owing to a booking in the semifinal against South Korea.

Brazil won. Ronaldo scored, twice. He silenced his critics. He more than made up for the 1998 loss to France. I went into denial. Football didn't matter anymore. I never really liked yellow.

Two years went by, I graduated. The Euro 2004 came and went. My Blue sweater found its way into the suitcase under the bed. I started working.

Life went by so fast I could almost see it passing me by in front of my very own eyes.

Around this time I made a friend. A good one. He reminded me of 1998, of 2000 and most importantly of red and blue. He helped me fall in love again.
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Its 2006.

The boy has become a man. He's got a place of his own so he has a lot of free time in the evenings. In the last six months he started watching football off and on.

"For old time's sake" he tells himself and smiles.

When the World Cup started, he made it a point to rush home from work everyday to watch the matches. He still loves blue. And I think he's still indifferent to yellow.

Whenever France is on the field, he thinks of his suitcase, the blue sweater, and 1998. If Les Bleus make it to the round of sixteen, he'll try his best to fit into that sweater of his.

Time will tell. His fingers are crossed.

Allez Les Bleus... Go Zizou...






6 comments:

Poppy said...

very well put..

TS said...

Compliment Taken! When do we see your work?!?

Ujjwal said...

Nice article. Lets see what happens against Spain. Its still 0-0 right now.

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