It’s strange how India hasn’t ever qualified to play international football and yet, here we are, engrossed in watching the FIFA World Cup like it’s our very own sport. Punekars too have latched onto the bandwagon and are seen supporting teams of countries they’ve only heard names of, whose players they seldom know and despite the erratic timings, they religiously watch the matches. Here are a few reasons why Punekars don’t mind watching the FIFA World Cup.
So, a match starts at 3:30 am, so late in the night that even the street dogs stop barking and go off to sleep. The last time most of us woke up at such a time was during our examinations or, to catch an early morning flight! 3:30 am is so late, it’s just half an hour before my ajji will wake up and by the time the match will be over, ajji will be seen listening to the tunes played on Vividh Bharati.
The reason sleep-loving Punekars do not mind watching football matches so late in the night is, *drumroll* because it is in the night, not the afternoon! Punekars may compromise on ratrichi zop (night sleep) but not on their duparchi zop (afternoon nap or siesta). Wait till they schedule a match at 3:30 pm and we Punekars know FIFA will be bahishkaared (boycotted) in the city.
No tension, no worries
Remember when Pune had an IPL team? We rooted for them, travelled miles just to watch the matches, prayed for them and watched every match will full attention. But the team disappointed us so many times and with such margin (remember Gayle? Had it been a street match, 50-60 khidkyanchya kacha araamat phutlya astya). With FIFA World Cup, there are fewer disappointments. Most choose to support only the best of teams and their chances of going to the semis or even the finals are high. Also, in case a team we like does not qualify, we can always shift loyalties. We Punekars might be loyal to our food (Chitale chi bakarwadi, Kaka Halwai chi amba barfi, Vaishali chi SPDP, Puran poli aai ni banavleli, etc.) but with football, not so much.
Exception: Premiere League Matches. Even though most won’t be able to locate their favourite clubs on a map, they support them like it’s their own!
Women seem to love football, less for the game and more for the players. They won’t be able to tell off-side or a penalty/free kick but, they will definitely know how to spot Ronaldo and Beckham. And, women who know names other than these are true football fans! *slow claps*. However, men aren’t far behind. 90% of those Brazil fans, who too aren’t real football fans (because they only know one team which is why they support it. Most still think Ronaldo ‘the footballer’ not Christiano, Ronaldinho and Pele are part of the team!), support the team because of the hot spectators they bring to the ground. There are also hot WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends) of players, and more than the match, it is them we love to watch. What Priety Zinta is to IPL, Shakira is to FIFA.
Whether you support a team or not, know the game or not, know every detail of what’s going on or not, football is fun. The FIFA songs are always better than IPL anthems and football as a sport is not really an unknown territory to the most of us. Despite hockey being our national sport, most of us have played football or cricket during our childhood days. There are always those who will judge us (especially the League loving crowd, who claim to be the ‘real football fans’) and there will also be those who will argue that people like us just watch football to fit in. Nevertheless, watching it with friends over some drinks or even family while having dinner is pure entertainment! Majja is all Punekars look for, so why look any further for reasons?
Enjoy the game and let us know if there are any other reasons why Punekars (you are one) watch FIFA World Cup!