Woohoo, it’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! And by it, I mean malaria. Also, the world cup kicked off this week, bringing cheer to millions of die-hard football fans across India parts of Goa, Kerala, Bengal, the North East and Novy Kapadia. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the pre-game show on Sony Six, called Café Rio, featured renowned football expert John Abraham, whose presence caused much outrage among people who like football and also common sense.
I’m told John played a lot of football as a kid, because when you’re a Bandra kid called John, what choice do you have? But I can’t really picture him playing football. He’d dive everytime his face was exposed to sunlight, and just lie there, howling in pain until a medic brought him a tube of Fair and Handsome, after which he’d start moaning about his sweaty pits.
Now I’m no expert on programming, but if people are staying up after midnight to watch the game, they really don’t care about your token roped-in-to-attract-preteen-girls-from-Faridabad Bollywood celeb. Do the fans a favour and get a real expert, like Shibani Dandekar.
But enough cribbing about the pre-game telecast, because now it’s time for more important stuff, like cribbing about the opening ceremony. It featured a performance of the official World Cup song, ‘We Are One’, by Pitbull aka Latino Honey Singh, and Jennifer Lopez, who was a super choice by people who’re stuck in 2002. But the opening ceremony was great overall, assuming the theme they were going for was Annual Day Function At An Average Indian School. I’m pretty sure there were people standing in line for cold samosas, warm Pepsi and if they were lucky, a slice of Monginis cake, which was basically sweetened sandpaper.
Now I can’t wait to watch the 2022 World Cup opening ceremony in Qatar. It’ll probably feature gladiator-style battles between bonded labourers fighting each other for a glass of water, while sheikhs sit back and use their passports as roach material.
(Fun fact: The official world cup footballs are called Brasuca and have been manufactured in Pakistan. Yep, the football is Pakistani, which means it’ll be great at sneaking through defences.)
This is a great opportunity for Indians to learn about Brazil, because as of now, we’re not very familiar with the country. Here’s a list of things Indians know about Brazil:
– There’s a famous statue there that’s doing the Shahrukh arms-wide-open pose.
– Dhoom 2 was shot there.
It is a foregone conclusion that if you ask Indian guys about Brazil, they will mention the Rio carnival girls. Sure, they may also talk about favelas and the impact that ‘City of God’ had on them, but that’s only because they don’t want you to know that they’re picturing gyrating, bedecked lady bits as they speak to you.
While I’m all for a clothing-optional party, it’s still a little weird to see women dressed in nothing but giant, multi-coloured plumage. It’s really strange to get turned on by something that looks like a peacock got implants. (Of course I say this now, but as kids, we all sneakily watched carnival girls on Fashion TV. Also because they were the only women on that channel who looked like they ate regular food, as opposed to the standard model meal of diet cocaine.)
The world cup is also a great time for people like me – basically a puddle of carbs glued to a couch – to yell out things like “ RUN FASTER, YOU LAZY PIECE OF SH*T!” at athletes with a body fat percentage of minus six. Glory be damned, that is the real beauty of the game, and that is why I’ll be watching until the cup is kissed by the one who deserves it the most: John Abraham.
(Note: This is my HT column dated 15th June 2014.)