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.
– Breasts.

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.)


  1. That’s a brilliant take off 🙂
    And you scored a precious goal for ALL of us there, again Team Cafe Rio 😀 – well what did one expect with a Pakistani origin football? 😀
    Thank you!

  2. Ashish this one was golden! You know there is a petition doing the rounds to get rid of John Abraham and Gaurav Kapoor? 😀

  3. Monginis cake, which was basically sweetened sandpaper-that I agree with you.To imagine John Abraham playing football is not easy,he is such a pansy,selling fairness dreams.

  4. I’m a horrible person, but honestly the thing that struck me the hardest about ‘City of God’ was the quantity of hot Brazilian guys. Sue me.

    And favelas. Brazil has twice the landmass and one fifth the population, but they make parts of Bihar and the North East look non-violent and well governed. Don’t think as many people starve to death over there, though. And carnivals.

  5. Enjoyed reading it. Have a query though. Do you still write for The Week That Was Not (because did not see your name on the credits)? Few jokes here were also cracked on air by Cyrus. After the Reliance take over, one thing they should not complain about is paying their employees

  6. Great post! I was disappointed with the opening ceremony too, but consider this, Brazil already faced protests because of the money spent on stadiums and special diets for the players (someone wanted bananas imported from their home country and delivered fresh every morning? Don’t ask who, I don’t know which chimps asked for that). So maybe they just figured they’d go basic for the opening ceremony, coz they always had Pitbull’s capris and J.Lo’s louboutins to fall back on?

  7. this article is hilarious. Being an avid football fan i except something from the broadcasters other than an actor and Gaurav kapoor(a person who hosted ipl pre match by dancing in the studio),for an event that comes once in four years. Almost every person who will be staying up all night has seen the pre match shows on ESPN and have seen people like John Dykes having some healthy discussions with people who have actually played the game on the field.They will certainly not like a host discussing the content of spices in Indian food and jet lag with footballers who have represented their countries at the international level.

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