Kerala football fever and err… Communism
Kerala and West Bengal, the football crazy states of India are having a great time with the FIFA world cup getting to its final stages. Even the hilarious ‘Laka Laka’ Mallu song on YouTube has caught the national spotlight! The state rooted for Brazil and Argentina with fan clubs watching it here like they are cheering for India. Somehow with football Kerala gets more affected than even cricket, the national religion.
Coming from Calicut, I remember watching Nehru Trophy matches at the Stadium Ground. The ruckus they created, the collective groans and cheers are to be seen to be believed. Malabar people come out with vigour when they watch football and everyone’s an expert, I have heard shouts like, ‘attack the goalie’, or ‘poke his eyes out’, ‘change that guy‘ – rants’ being made with murderous looks. Ha ha!
Sitting in Kochi now I miss the spectacle being played out at the numerous cafes, clubs, and reading rooms in Calicut. They know all the details of scores of yore, lost chances and tactics and argue at the drop of a hat and even place bets. Scuffles were also common among friends during matches of opposing teams. Such drama hardly happens for cricket matches in Kerala, though with IPL Kochi team in the fray now, there is scope for similar stuff.
However, taking up causes far, far away has not been new for Kerala; Communism has seen Keralites and Bengalis shouting slogans for Cuba, Korea, Russia and even China. Even President Bush had been a popular effigy being burnt on the Kerala coast. Strange are the dynamics of this connection but then like football, we also tend to obsess about certain ideologies even if they don’t seem feasible these days. Keralites with communist leanings will speak of the life and times of Che Guevera, Karl Marx, Lenin, Castro and the like with ease.
So, here I’m left wondering did the football craze come years ago through Communism to the state. Hmm! If you are living in Kerala, there comes a time when you think- ‘Am I communist?‘ Nowadays it’s a mere thought, though it probably was a phase in a person’s life decades ago and a way of life much earlier. Like the Latin American countries with their Communism and their football craze, did football come to us in Kerala the communist way? Whatever be the reason for the football craze, even if communism doesn’t stay football is too deep-rooted in Kerala to fizzle out.
This Sunday like most people, I too am ready for the match on the big screen with a lot of crazy football fans. Food and drinks to flow; along with agonies and ecstasies. Though Brazil and Argentina have been routed out, the state seems to be coming together for Spain and The Netherlands. There is a delightful polarizing happening, bets being placed and Twitter tweets all playing a part to build up the excitement. Did I mention the number of LCD TVs being bought? Sony had a unique free World Cup replica football offer on. Paul, the Oracle octopus, is being discussed at length as well!
Kerala is ready, and nothing beats the joy of a sport, it’s a pure joy that’s frankly like no other! So, who are you supporting? 😉