Friday, 18 April 2008

Can cricket really match football’s passion?

A Bengali knows his football like his rasgulla. Former India international Surajit Sengupta, whose fan includes Sourav Ganguly, often tells this story.

Then an East Bengal players, Sengupta and his teammates were intrigued by a particularly guy, who would manage a particular seat and attend each and every match. Legendary Liverpool Manager Bill Shankly once said "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much.” This guy clearly did not know Shankly but he belonged to the same school. As it happened, the man in question gradually became familiar with each and every player and was a permanent fixture in all the matches.

It was a derby with arch-rival Mohun Bagan and Sengupta and others were surprised not to see the man in his familiar place. In fact he could not be spotted anywhere. It was only at half time, when the players – then trailing -- could see him. One of the players told him, in a rather complaining tone, “What dada, you are coming so late? We have already conceded a goal”. The man paused for a moment (I still have goose bumps when I recall it) and said, “I couldn’t help it. Actually my only son died and I’m coming straight from the burning ghat. I had to be there for the cremation after all.”

Got little heavy? Well, here is some relief. In my Kolkata days, one of my college mates was a die-hard East Bengal fan who remembered (I hope he still does) each and every match of his favourite team. The goals are etched in his mind and his occasional stammering notwithstanding, he waxes eloquent when he narrates those moves from memory.

A man is known by his company and being my friend, Baaju -- as went his pet name -- too was not a very bright student with the key to open the employment door. Worse, he was god-fearing!

Baaju appeared in a written test for a private company and on his return I asked him how it was. He said it went okay. I asked if they asked any sports questions, to which he said there was one– which team had won the Federation Cup that year. I said “Wow, you know it. Because we two had gone together and Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal in the final, isn’t it?”

He said “Yes, but I wrote East Bengal.” I was livid, “How could you forget that? You remember how Kuldip Singh outjumped a marker to nod home through far post some 10 years back and you forgot this simple stuff?”

Baaju came up with a stunner that would leave anyone speechless. Pointing to his forehead he said, “If it’s written here, none can deny me the job. You are an atheist, so you probably don’t know. It’s all destiny. And if I’m not destined for that, I won’t get it, however I may try. And how on earth you expect me to write the name of Mohun Bagan?”

Call it whatever. My question is can IPL’s city-based concept really match it? Is it so that what we thing as passion for cricket is actually just a hysteria?

(Meanwhile, sorry for the delay. I was one those sun-baked poor souls in the India Gate for yesterday’s Olympic torch relay. It’s not my anti-Tibetan stance but occupational compulsion. No cricketer was part of the relay – Gavaskar had pulled out and so did fellow Mumbaikar Tendulkar. Nearest you had was son of MAK “Tiger” Pataudi, Saif Ali Khan.)


Anonymous said...

Taken care of as mid-sized HRM that might deliver high-class rewards for conditioning followers.

Also visit my site :: just click the next article

Anonymous said...

Medicine balls aid with endurance and joint integrity that may well
hinder and stop a complete and finish work out on
a Bowflex.

Feel free to visit my homepage;

Anonymous said...

These days, a broad assortment is accessible, starting from the traditional fat bench for the multi-station health and fitness center
with fat devices the place free weights and resistance gear are employed.

Feel free to visit my weblog ... used bowflex for sale

Anonymous said...

Compared to common crunches, the attachment makes the
exercise less complicated, without the need of all of
the neck and back again strain.

my web-site ...