Strange things do happen. I experienced that a few days ago near Salt Lake stadium. It confirmed our long standing fears about Indian football. Let me share my experiences here.
After spending a nice evening at Stadel near Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata, me and my friend were looking for a cab to go home. It was late, almost eleven thirty and getting a cab in that area at night is almost as astonishing as meeting a ghost. So we decided to walk towards the EM Bypass connector. When you are near the famed football stadium, you can hardly stop thinking about the beautiful game. We started talking about football. My friend is a die-hard Argentina fan and was blaming Leo Messi for defeat in the Copa America final, while I was trying to explain Leo Messi’s case as I am a blind supporter of Messi.
It was dark and there was no one else other than us. This part of the city does have a bit of greenery and we were enjoying moments of rare loneliness in this highly crowded city. Suddenly we heard a terrifying sound of a low moan, as if someone was crying. Nowadays we read so many reports about harassment that the sound scared us and we ran towards the direction of the sound. We located a tree under which someone was seating, covered entirely with a wrapper. It was strange because the weather was hot and humid.
We asked him why was he crying, but his voice was not distinct enough for us to make any sense of it. We asked him the same question again, but failed to understand what he was saying. Then my friend asked impatiently “Do you need any help? We need to go back and we are getting late”. A answer came through a nauseous voice, “You guys believe in ghost?” We were intoxicated with beer and we laughed out loud and said, “Are you scared of ghost?” The nauseous voice answered “No, I am a ghost”. The rest of the conversation went as something like the following.
Friend : This guy is doped and drugged with the deshi thing. Let’s not waste anymore time.
Ghost : I can prove it.
Friend : How?
//My friend was getting ready to beat him for this late night drama//
Ghost : See I don’t have any shadow where as your shadows are clearly visible. I can also convert my wrapper into your favorite football team’s colour.
//The wrapper suddenly turned into Albiceleste’s blue and white stripped flag, followed by our beloved tricolor. Still we were not convinced.//
Friend : Let’s assume you are a ghost indeed, but why are you making this disturbing sound, Mr. Ghost?
Ghost : I am sad because I need to shift to Goa.
Friend : Have you completely lost your mind? First you are claiming you are a ghost and now you are UNHAPPY to shift to Goa!?
Ghost : You don’t understand, I just shifted from Mumbai to Kolkata and again I need to shift to Goa. I will have to search for a suitable tree near the football stadium.
Friend : Hey, we should leave. People who travel frequently stay in hotels, this fu#*ing ghost is talking about finding tree. He is a gone case, let’s hand him over to police and they will hand him back to his family. Haha, football loving ghost, can you beat that!?
Ghost : Now you are making me angry, I love football and I have always loved Indian football. That’s why my soul still roams around stadiums of India.
Me : Ok dear ghost, we will listen to your story as you are an Indian football lover, but at the end you must tell us what actually did you smoke, right?
Ghost : No mate, I am not doped. I was just like you, was born in India and fell in love with football, the stepson’s game of India. I grew up watching good quality domestic football and always had hope that India would become an international power house in football as it always had the potential. I waited and waited and ultimately my time was over. Now after my death, my soul didn’t leave this lonely planet. I roam around stadiums of India. Have any things improved since my death or my human days?
// I found it interesting and sat on the ground, while observing that there was no shadow of him indeed.//
Friend : Well..ok, but could you tell us one thing why you roam around Mumbai, Kolkata and Goa? There are plenty of stadiums in other areas of country.
Ghost : Actually I have a special affection on a goalkeeper and I help him to win games for his team; he recently joined a team in Goa leaving his last team from Kolkata.”
Me : Oh, you have some supernatural powers?
Ghost : Nah, I am yet to gather all the extraordinary powers; otherwise I would have played for Indian national team as an invisible 12th man and helped them to beat opponents.
Me : Enlighten us ghost, how actually you help that goalkeeper?
Ghost : When I see the score line is 0 – 0 or 1-0 up in the favor of his team, around at 80 minutes, I pinch his calf muscle or hamstring. This injures him and he tumbles down in the ground requiring treatment for two to three minutes. I generally attack him seven to eight times in a single match. Last but not the least, I manipulate fourth referee’s stop watch such that added time always remains two minutes. Then I attack my favourite goalie during added time also to make sure the victory is ours! But I am also a ghost and I make mistakes as well. In one I league match, I wrongly attacked a referee and few years back I attacked an assistant referee. But I can tell you my friends those were absolutely unintentional.
Me : But a goalkeeper plays so many matches in a season, injury may happen during dying moment of the match. Why should I believe you?
Ghost : Have you seen Manuel Neuer or Claudio Bravo lying on the pitch during dying moment of FIFA World Cup final or Copa America Final when their team was leading 1 – 0 against Argentina? No, because I only attack Indian goalkeeper in the Indian league.
Friend : Ok my dear ghost, you are powerful, we are scared and we want to go home, are you sure you are a ghost and you don’t need our help to return home?
Ghost : No my friend, you are making one mistake, I am not so powerful. More powerful ghosts are there in Indian football who can do anything with their power.
Me : Sounds interesting, could you explain?
Ghost : Powerful ghosts are omnipresent in Indian football. General public or football fans cannot see them but can feel their presence. Many can also guess who actually they are. They can weld their power to make sure we reject FIFA’s invitation to play in football world cup (1950), they can sack successful coaches like Ciric Milovan or Bob Houghton, they can burn audit reports and they can make sure that players like Sumit Passi or Sanjiban Ghosh get chance over consistent performers like Balwant Singh or Debjit Majumder. Better you be scared and stop expecting from Indian football or someday you will be like me.
I was about to reply but a bright light of a car forced me to close my eyes. The car came straight to us. When I opened my eyes I could not see the ghost, the guy who driving the car was another friend of us. I heard his voice “You two drunk bozo sleeping on the road and I have been looking for you for the last two hours”.
This article is a work of fiction, resemblance to any real life incidents would be shocking.