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Monday, May 23, 2005

TALES FROM A TOUCHLINE

Now one of the many household appliances that are objects of territorial warfare whenever my parents drop in to Powai is the humble Idiot Box. ( When I drop in to where they stay it is inevitably Grenada versus the USA and so there is no protracted warfare—the remote and I are soon parted and I retreat to the bedroom with my tail between my legs )

One such rare occasion was on Saturday, I laid siege and successfully appropriated the remote before the aged r. could rally themselves, and so we settled into watching what promised to be a riveting encounter between the Reds and the Gunners; both scrambling to retrieve some silverware in a season where both had been bested by the moneyed wiles of Chelsea.

I’ve always held that true insight requires minimal knowledge and an open mind, which was borne out by some of these comments. I must also confess that owing to acute aural agony, truce was declared early and the match was watched with the remote mercilessly muted. In retrospect, I’m still a little foggy on why my parents decided to watch an FA Cup Final, of all things, but I guess the company of their erudite and accomplished son…

Dad: It seems they have been playing a long time. How much more to go ?
Self : Played about 1 minute 12 seconds, so that would mean about 88 minutes 28 seconds more. It appears on the top right corner, so you can calculate yourself.

Mum: ( This was coming, surely—I’ve answered this a hundred times and yet….) : How do they know which side to shoot ?
Self: They switch sides at half-time , and although they may not be geniuses, even a Beckham can remember which goal to aim at for forty-five minutes.

Dad: Hey, they have names and numbers—what’s the point?
Self: The numbers are for historical reasons, and the names are for television audiences

Dad : ( chuckles to himself ) : Like us. The television audiences, that is.

Mum: How big is a football field ?
Self: Pretty big, about 120 metres long and about 75 meters wide.

Mum: That’s quite big. Do they have positions like square leg, mid off etc .?
Self: Yes, but they move around and transgress often. It’s not that they patrol an area.

Dad:So they must get tired quickly.
Dad ( to Mum ) Imagine Inzy running this much.
Mum: Imagine Chandidas running this much.

( A goal was scored, against Arsenal)
Mum: Yes, he’s scored. But aren’t they supposed to fall on top of each other when they score ? I find the celebrations rather subdued. Is it Lent, or something ?
Self: ( unshackles the remote ) : Yeah, they have even shown it 1-0 ( van Nistelrooy on the 28th minute ). The goal’s disallowed because of an offside.

Dad ( perking up) Offside and onside, just like cricket, Huh ?
Self : ( desperately evading the issue ): No, no, this is different.
Dad ( hears offside on the telly ) So what is an offside position ?
Self: It’s when the last striker is ahead of the last defender,….
Dad: That seems pretty simple then, every time a side is in trouble , they just move up.
Self : Yes, but they don’t do that…

Presently, it was half time and the sides trooped off, only to resume hostilities later.

Second half.
Dad: It’s begun to rain. They will call in that Super Sopper thing now.
Mum: And yes, maybe some hot pakodas too.
Self: Not quite, they continue.
Dad: Not really, it’s raining c. & d.
Self: No, they continue
Mum: Oh, cricket is much easier then. Half the blokes are just crying to come off even in broad daylight. And rain, pah !

Mum: ( concern writ large) : This player has had a big fall. It must hurt ! Back to the dressing room for him.
Mum: He’s begun to run again. Incredible. How does he do it ? Doesn’t it hurt ?

After the second half, the match was still goalless and after two loaves of extratime, the match went into a penalty shootout.

Mum ( returning ) : They are still playing.
Dad: Yeah, they have played for two hours now.
Mum ( shocked) : Two hours , how come ? Still goalless?
Self: Yes, the match will now be decided on penalties. Let me explain, five players of both sides will try and score a penalty shot, past the goalkeeper, and the team with the higher score after five tries wins. If still locked, it is a one on one affair.
Dad : Won’t the goalkeeper get kinda confused with five balls to block ?
Self : Grrr ! No, one at a time. First one side, and then the next. I mean one player…
Mum: Should be easy. The goal is so big and these guys are good anyway.
Dad : No, you don’t understand, it’s the pressure that they test.
Mum: A good idea not to let Indians play this. Chokers !
Dad: Jokers, actually !

Of course, Scholes missed and the Gunners won.
Let me leave you with a few visual observations on the players ( identification mine )( Between the two, they cannot even identify one blasted player)
Mum: Rooney looks like one from the Jungle Book.
Dad: Ljungberg has a nice haircut.
Mum: Vieira is very tall, Ashley Cole looks an angry tiger cub-snarling and spitting.
Dad: van Nistelrooy looks elegant, also vain and distant.
Mum: That lad Ferdinand is crying—sad, ain’t it ?
Dad: Yes, you cannot win ‘em all…..

I've obviously bowdlerized all the attendant stuff about giving every player a football for himself, and hence obviating the need for wars waged on account of a scarcity of footballs....
































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