Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Soccer, Oops sorry..... 'Football' and Me!

 A humble request to all readers, especially football fanatics to be very kind with me and hold on to their urges of killing me at some of my misdeeds which took place in my ignorance of the magnanimity of a phenomenon known as 'Football'.

This blog is dedicated to all those for whom football is a religion, and their better halves who have made peace with the fact that football indeed is the first love in their husbands' life!

I have grown up knowing just TWO sports in my life until I met my husband Sujoy! Cricket and Tennis. The only massive tournaments I knew until then where World Cup and Wimbledon. There was a point, when I just not knew all players in the Indian cricket team but also all other teams! Common guys, I need an applause here, that is a big task for someone whose life just revolved around studies and books.

So when I met Sujoy, I was a little bemused that he plays football. But that's it, it did not make any more impact whatsoever in the way I perceived Sujoy.

I must say, football and me started on a very bad foot though! Football maneuvered effortlessly and tackled the ball away from me, leaving me hapless and all alone on that vast football field. The metaphor here being, the ball was the love of my life - Sujoy, and that vast field was my life - my real life!!

I still vividly remember the day, 26th of December 2007. It was Sujoy's birthday and we had planned for nice romantic dinner in KP. I was kind of elated as KP was something very exotic at that point, a very cosmopolitan place. But GOD [I hope, the HJW folks get the pun here ;)] had something else in mind. Sujoy calls me at 4 pm saying we cannot go to the dinner as he has a chance of a lifetime to play football under floodlights, 5 a side match on his special day. And I cannot make head or tail out of it, wondering why is it so important to him. So important that he is dumping me and choosing football on this day! I was pissed to the core as how can a non living thing, a stupid game be of prime importance to someone than a living being of flesh, blood and feelings.

He did go ahead and played the game. Post the game, he came to meet me but I refused to meet him as I was in a state of horrifying anger. We did not speak for 3 days. 4th day I called him and that call was my first step to understanding why this game matters so much to him. He was talking with a lot of conviction. He said, "You have never played a sport. You will never understand the passion I have for football. The high that I get cannot be compared to any alcohol or drugs whatsoever.  It is not just a game, it is a way of life! I could not have got a better present on my birthday than play football under floodlights!"

Even on the call, I could sense his intensity as he spoke from his heart. That was the first turning point in my life, a major one. That day I realized if I want this guy in my life, I have to give a serious attempt atleast to understand the game.

I started asking questions to Sujoy about football. How many players play, what are the positions, his favourite team, what is a league etc etc. 

I remember once we were watching EPL together and they showed the score card of all the teams during halftime. And I wanted to flaunt my newly acquired football knowledge to Sujoy. And I said, "Why isn't Brazil playing this time?" (Folks please do not come with daggers to kill me....forgive me for this one, seriously!)

And the look on Sujoy's face was criminal. I thought he is surprised and scandalized that I noticed Brazil is not playing this time. He beat his hand on his forehead and said, "Please do not embarrass me like this in front of my friends. You should have atleast known your Geography. It is 'English' Premier League and Brazil still has not shifted to United Kingdom."
And there melted my moment of scoring brownie points with Sujoy. Forget the brownie points, I was so embarassed that I did not know where to hide my face. And I sweared to put in more effort to comprehend the game!

The next major milestone took place when I saw Sujoy playing football! Oh boy! That is the most scintillating sight to view! He is a beauty to watch on that vast evasive field, making his own special moments to be remembered for a lifetime! One can see the passion in his eyes and feel the fire in his belly when he is at the field, at his fantasy land!

Sujoy in real life is a very quite and calm person. He takes time to mix up and till then will talk only when spoken to. He is a very matured individual and thinks very deeply on most of the occasions. 
But on the football field, he is anything but calm. I have seen him aggressively dodging the ball away from the opponent, abusing the opponent on a foul game, howling at other team mates for bad moves and last but not the least yelling at the referees in case of a bad decision. Not to mention, Sujoy has been awarded the prestigious yellow card on quite a few occasions. 
I am amused beyond limit to see this temporary transformation in a human being - it is like witch craft, a magic spell! 

So these were the major breakthroughs which assisted me in deciphering why football was such a significant phenomenon in Sujoy's life and convinced me that it indeed is more than just a game.

I have my own remarkable memories associated with the game. I have seen these bunch of crazy fanatics playing football with the same zeal, many of them are my good buddies now. I have seen a captain yelling at almost everyone during the match, I have seen players quarelling like school kids, I have seen the euphoria when a goal is scored, I have experienced the tension in penalty shootouts which decide the fate of the game, I have seen wives getting Lakshminarayan chiwda not only for their husbands but for the entire team, I have seen a spectator getting a yellow card for abusing off the field (ya, beat that) and I have seen all players hurdling together and celebrating victories like brothers! 
I have experienced too many emotions in those 90 minutes!!! 

I cannot thank football enough and all the fanatics on the field for enriching my life and adding invaluable perspective to my thought process. And I yearn to see all of you guys play again together, this game known as 'Football'!

This has been my equation with football so far. Thus now football, Sujoy and me live amicably together! As long as the other lady in his life is 'football', I really do not mind! ;)


  1. Brilliant blogpost..capturing the true essence of wat we fanatics think abt football...thank u 4 reigniting the fond memories...:)

  2. football is a way of life. loved it. brilliant read.

  3. Thanks for the lovely article Pradnya. My wife just read this article and could totally relate to all the points..

    Also.. sujoy..legend :-)

    1. Every lady married to someone like 'Sujoy' will relate to this :)

  4. Brilliant post. It's very important that u understand the other love bcoz with out tat ur sujoy will not be the same. I guess Sujoy will be thrilled now!

  5. Awesome.. Excited and Thrilled after reading this.. Its really great of you to take the pain in learning about the game and sharing your thrill and excitement with your wonderful hubby. To say the truth, we all know you didn't have a choice, bcos there is no way you can keep sujoy away from this wonderful game ;-)

    Also happy that Mridula (my wife) read this post before me, and told me to read it saying I will love it and will get lot of memories from the pune times. We also use this other wife/love word for football :)

    1. Santhosh: He may leave me but no chance of him leaving football!

      He was thrilled to meet you, Siddhartha and Harish back in Singapore during his MBA. The thrill was more because he played but still I give you guys some credit for that ;)

  6. I am sure all wives will have the same view! I am happy that I could stir feelings in all of you :)
    And I am glad to have known you all and see you play this wonderful game called Football! :)

  7. Brilliant article, loved every bit of it. :)

    1. Thanks Adi, though I am unable to decipher which 'Adi' you exactly are :P

  8. Very well written and brought back a lot of memories !! Sujoy is a lucky guy !!

    1. Sameer, do you mean I am a lucky girl to have GOD in my life??? ;)

  9. Nice one Pradnya... This articles calls for at least one non infosian applause...and its really nice to know that you respect the feelings behind this sport... it truly means a lot to him and to rest of the fraternity ...