When strangers united for to cheer their football team…

For long we have neglected the fact that we Indians can love any sport other than cricket. But this particular incident will remain in my memory for long. It was the night of the Asian cup qualifiers in 2008 and I was still in my college. After a frantic search for a TV set yielded no result and as there was no online stream cast too, I decided to take my dinner early, hoping I could catch up some highlights.

So I and some of my friends decided to persuade the Dhaba guy to switch on his TV as India was playing. He did so, imagining it to be some cricket match that India was playing but when it turned out to be football, he frowned. Nonetheless, customers are Demigod’s in India and he kept it switched on. It was India Vs Tajikistan.

As the screen was put on, we witnessed the first goal from the Indian side, a goal by Sunil Chettri and we went crazy in excitement.
We, a bunch of engineering students, were considered hooligans in local parleys.

But soon I saw a crowd slowly build up in front of the TV set, cheering Bhutia and company and another goal was scored. It slowly started to rain goals and India beat the opponents with a score of 4-1.

My joys knew no bounds as this was what I had always wanted to see from the Indian side, fans shouting and cheering and rooting for Indian football. People thanked me for informing them of the game and many promised to follow Indian football after the day.

What happened in those 90 minutes had a grasping effect on me, it showed that we Indians will lap up every success, be it in cricket of football. The pleasure of winning united a whole lot of strangers to dance and celebrate together for the country.

Rahul Majumdaar,
Engineer, Genpact
An avid football fan