Since the first day of ISL my routine has changed a bit. Nowadays I come back from the office and straight away turn on the television as I don’t want to miss a single moment of it. Few days back, as usual, I came back from the office and turned on the television to watch FC Goa vs Atletico de Kolkata match. One of my colleagues joined me. He is from Uttar Pradesh, a state not known for footballing interest, and does not know much about Indian football. He came to me and started a conversation.
Colleague: Hey, what are you watching? I want to see a Hindi movie.
Me: Indian Super League is going on man, watch it. You will love it.
Colleague: Oh Indian football, dekhna hai to world cup dekho, baharka league dekho, Indian football boring hai yaar (If you want to see football then watch World Cup or other foreign league, Indian football is boring)
Me: Have you heard about ISL? It is a brand new tournament and it is not at all boring. So many celebrities involved and world class television coverage with top players from all around the world, you won’t get bored.
Colleague: Arey yaar! In these days everybody is copying IPL and starting a new league, kabbadi, hockey, badminton and celebrities are going everywhere. Dekho Abhishek Bachchan ne abhi kabbadi team kharida (Just now Abhishek Bachchan bought a Kabbadi team) and now he is buying a football team.
Me: You know it is not all about buying a team, it is about passion. He must be passionate about Kabbadi and football that’s why he is getting involved. And not only him, film stars like Hritik, Ranbir, John, Pariniti and cricketers like Sachin, Sourav, Dhoni, Virat all are involved.
Colleague: To isse upar ayega Indian football? (Will it help Indian football to develop?)
Me: You know only time can tell you that, but I am hopeful.
Colleague: Achha, aisa hai kya (Oh I see). Then tell me who are playing? Who are the most famous guys? Is Cristiano Ronaldo playing?
Me: See this is a short term promotional league to make football popular in India, that’s why present-day players like Ronaldo or Messi are not here. We have few just retired world famous football players here.
Colleague: Will people come to see old and retired people?
Me: Just watch the crowd over there and mind it you have been watching the game along with me for last half and hours.
Colleague: Ha ha! Hum ne to aajtak total itna football bhi nahi dekha. (l have not seen so much football in my life time). Who are the Indians playing here? Is that Bhutani guy playing?
Me: Bhutani guy?
Colleague: Arre yaar that Bhutani guy who is very famous in Kolkata? Don’t you know him? You are from Bengal? He looks like a Nepali!
//Anticipating the ‘Bhutani guy’ who looks like a ‘Nepali’ could be Bhaichung Bhutia, the Sikkimese Sniper and former Indian captain. I did a quick image search in google and showed him his photographs //
Me: Is this the guy you are talking about?
Colleague: Ha yaar isne to bahut goal mara suna hai (I heard he has scored many goals). Is he the best Indian footballer ever like Sachin in cricket and Dhanchand in hockey?
Me: You cannot compare like that as Sachin and Dhanchand were world’s best, while Bhaichung Bhutia has not played in that level. Apart from that we have many greats like Shailen Manna, Gostho Pal, Chuni Goswami, Balaram, PK Banerjee.
Colleague: Kya bola tumne? PK? Now I understand why Amir Khan has not bought any football team! Uska tarika kuch aalag hi hay yaar! (his way is different). He is helping Indian football by making a film on footballing legend PK. Amir Zindabad.
// I just imagined Amir Khan (as PK Banerjee) playing for Eastern Railway and Anushka Sharma is cheering for him, could not resist an outburst, but decided not to make fun of him//
Me: I don’t think so, the story may be different.
Colleague: Are you sure? Amir Khan kuch aalag hi insaan hai yaar, tum usko nahi jante (He is really different, you don’t know).
Me: Yes I am sure as I have read about the content of his next film PK.
//Mean while Goa scores thanks to Santos and it was a very powerful shot. My Colleague was amazed by the strike and decided to support Goa //
Colleague: Dada, aaj Bengal harega, (Bro your team will lose today)
Me: Let’s see, you never know.
Colleague: (Showing me Robert Pires) Just tell me he has played in World Cup na? I must have seen him somewhere.
Me: Yes, he played in World Cup and he is a World Cup winner indeed.
Colleague: And our boys play with him? Are they passing correctly? How many Indian are playing and how many foreigners? Can anyone play with all the foreign players?
// as I observed this fellow’s interest started growing slowly towards football, I explained the rules and regulations of ISL. I also observed he is not requesting me to change the channel anymore//
// There was a continuous tussle between ATK’s Fikru & FC Goa’s Gregory//
Colleague: Arey look they are fighting, it seems they are serious
Colleague: Maine socha sab buddha players hain, serious nahi khelenge, yeh to bahut hi serious khel rahe hai (I thought they are oldies they won’t take it seriously but they are really serious)
Me: yes they are professionals.
//And then suddenly out of nowhere Calvin Lobo scored two magnificent goals. ATK won the game//
Colleague: Kya goal mara yaar (What a goal), who is he?
Me: His name is Calvin Lobo. Did you like the game? Did you like the goal?
Colleague: Yaa I like the game, I will watch Bengal’s next game too with you. What a goal man, I like Leander Paes.
Me: What? Leander Paes kahan se aagaye? (Where has Leander come from?)
Colleague: That guy who scored, he looks like Leander Paes!
//I did not say anything as I was happy for a dramatic win by ATK and I could inject some footballing blood to an alien with the help of ISL. And there I see the successes of ISL. //