Once every Four years, there is a strange phenomenon that happens in our wonderful country.
Cobblers on the streetside stitch more torn and old footballs than they do shoes.
Sports stores replace all their Cricket paraphernalia with football stuff, and the colors of the storefront change the the Indian Blue to International Greens, Oranges, and Whites.
There is an insane number of requests that Wikipedia and ESPN receive from India with strange queries like 'who are popular players in Italy' and 'how many goals did Messi score'. Some honest folks even ask 'what is the difference between soccer and football' and 'why are Arsenal and Liverpool not playing the world cup'.
Profiles on Twitter sport new display pics, with weird 3 letter shields - like GER, ARG, ITA, and USA. Yes, USA too - poor folks who probably recognize the acronym and take the known devil's route.
Red Eyed employees have been found walking into offices and crowding the coffee machines several times a day. The body demands sleep at 3 am, but in order to talk cool about the passes that Costa Rica sent, or the dismal refereeing, they keep themselves awake. Man, this world is tough on us.
Not just men! Women with changed DPs have been found talking football. And their social stature changes instantly! From boring, they become ultra-cool, hip, and suave, just like that! Worth all that preparation, surely. Those who were termed as geeks and nerds have suddenly become the center of conversations all over the country, and those sleepless nights are worth it. Afterall, its only another week or two that the Tamasha will be remembered, before we move on to something better!
There has been a manifold increase in the number of Twitter users in the country in this period. Never have people been so proficient at expressing themselves in under 140 characters! Photoshop artists have become demi-celebrities, by morphing images of RVP and Ochoa onto Indian situations, and have been receiving truckloads of followers and shares. Newspapers began the worldcup with half a page dedicated to it, and thanks to the unreal following that the game has been receiving, they've moved to two or even three full pages dedicated to the game! Folks that did not know that a channel called Sony Six existed, have added it to their favourites. Large screens across the country have been booked up, and hotels and pubs have bought an unprecedented number of giant TV screens to cater to the craziness.
All this for another two days. Tomorrow night the finals is done, and for a couple of more days, the topic will remain among the trends. Cricket, and our team's insult at the hands of Root and Andersen in the first test has already risen to the top of the trends, and we will hopefully go back to abusing our cricket heroes soon. Atleast we can speak knowledgeably about the sport and quote comparisons between aggressive Ganguly (remember the shirt waving?) and strange Dhoni (for not having bowled Binny). Then we can stop pretending and return to something we've lent our lives to long ago. Till the next worldcup, Cricket will rule! And Sunil Chhetri (look him up if you don't know about him, O Shameless Person!)'s stint in the commentator's box will be done :)
And Rediff can go back to finding some other Bollywood-centric Soft-Porn to peddle, since the semi-nude images of the 'Fan of the Day' will have to cease on Monday. But I'm certain they'll run a 'Best of FIFA Fans' slideshow on Tuesday before moving on!!
PS - I started this post over two weeks ago. But owing to staying up late to watch the football matches, I couldn't complete it before now ;)