For a change I don’t remember the exact date or time on this occasion but it was in the summer of 1998

that I heard of the existence of a football world cup. For somebody not even 10 yrs old I was like the cricket prodigy in our area, well yes I owned a couple of bats & the stumps we played with, but that is a different story entirely. But still my knowledge about the game was unmatched & yes on a serious note I did use to play with people more than 10 years older than me & was still competitive. One pretty good skill that I had & still posses is the ability to copy the bowling action of any bowler who was a bit popular before 2005, righty or lefty, fast bowler or spinner; never mind where the ball lands on the pitch but yes I could match the actions. We even played matches with boys from nearby villages from Bangladesh. There were bet matches of various categories & one of the best memories I have was winning a Rs 2/note which happens to be the first un-official earning of my life. Well we played football too sometimes after being done with cricket late in the evening(& hockey too with the stumps & cricket bat) but somehow there was no 2nd choice to cricket. I was on my summer break at my dad’s place when suddenly the buzz about football started to grow. Everyone was taking about Brazil & Argentina & how the current players would compare to the likes of Pele & Maradona. I would read the local newspapers & collect as much information I could & learn the names of a few popular footballers & how they looked. SoAnother year of this so called professional career comes to an end & though at the moment there is officially only 1 more year left for finally acquiring a worthy enough graduation certificate, I don’t know why it feels like this is gonna go on forever.

For someone like me, who has never been career minded & neither has found it pleasing to see changes of any sort being made to the surroundings, the last 10 odd months were probably the most challenging ones of my life, been taken to the limit; physically, mentally & emotionally.
So before beginning with year 2, yet again I promised myself to be strong & stuff… & within a week I realized that’s not happening. There is only one way you can postpone your everlasting problems, when you see more problems requiring immediate attention coming in. Accommodation is always a problem in Mumbai & I guess its gonna be until I can rent a little place exclusively for "me & my luggage" someday. A month in & I was willingly back to the place I thankfully said goodbye to at the end of the 1st year. The experience was quite different from last time though….living under the same roof with juniors not only gave a sense of seniority but also responsibility, & like 1st year there were times when I didn't quite enjoy certain things, but have to say today when I’d look back to those 3 months, I don’t think I’d regret a moment, all of the roommates were different from each other & someti mes the maturity they'd show it was difficult to actually realize who were the seniors.

No matter how many hours in a day you spend thinking about your personal life….college & studies do come asking for attention. If completing 10-15 pages of journals every week wasn't tough enough, there was a 4 month long Industrial Training period coming up. Well though for me finding the best place was never a concern but going through rounds of interviews for that would be a little strain on the brain for anyone I guess. So then, it all began with a call-up at Oberoi Trident. I was not that serious yet & getting in was not going to be easy so the result turned out to be obvious. And couple of weeks later I came out of their BKC property smiling & telling everyone I got dumped by the Oberois twice in a fortnight & whispering to myself, there is absolutely no chance I’d make it to the big properties. But then a month later I was rejected by Sun-n-sand hotel in Juhu, I once again laughed it away telling people its better not be in a property which completed 5 interviews in less than 2 minutes. The night results came out, I was sitting alone in my room thinking I couldn't even make it to possibly the smallest property the college

I wanted to be in Mumbai for the same reason why I came here in the 1 st place. I was frustrated like anything & with nobody to look for. even catching up with them once in a week became difficult sometimes. But when ultimately thanks to some connections & persuasions Ista Hotel from Bangalore came calling. we’d have a disposable chef cap everyday & I preserved the last one. And then a short 10 day visit to Mumbai which would be more remembered for the nights spent at my most favorite place in the city till date. I couldn’t even listen to what she said in reply before disconnecting my phone & switching it off. Also no matter how less it may be. Best experience though of the training period had to be the 5 weeks I spent in kitchen. I had 30 working days. “this is it. So then. I got rejected again & I’ll get rejected everywhere in life. Probably one of my longest nights in Mumbai. I didn’t know what to do now. I called up my mom & told her. coz anyways ultimately you do make it to somewhere. so without getting into that I can simply say that thankfully I was in a hotel where barring may be a couple of people all the staff members were just amazing when it would come to have patience & assist an intern in the mission. I call it “My Last Chef Cap. Don’t know what I’ll do as the heat picks up.” With all the noise going downstairs due to Ganesh Chaturthi. But within a day of work. Just been 2 days & even with IPL & football on. right at the heart of the city. One thing I firmly believe in is not everything in life that you do has to be done thinking about your career.could arrange. I realized getting into a hotel for training was easier. whi ch still happens to be with me. much difficult is to actually start putting in 12+ hrs of hard physical labor everyday. there wasn't an option other than packing up the bags. And even better is the feeling of spending it for the people who matter. I actually felt bad the day my training in kitchen got over. “Worli Sea Face” than the legendary answers written for the IGNOU tests & a presentation that never felt like a presentation.” Bangalore bought in further changes. Almost everyone would have good & bad stories to tell from their training experience. it still feels pretty boring. And finally after some further hurdles we were in. And here I’m back home again awaiting a long summer ahead with absolutely nothing to do. Till then in Mumbai everytime my roommates would get drunk. to be honest more than I expected. the feeling of having the 1 st “official "mehnat ki kamaai” in your hand is priceless.” But inevitably the day had to come when I’d just let go. I went to bed & pretended to sleep until it was late enough for everyone else in the room to have a sleep & for me to go out on a walk. From the first experience of a beer at a sports pub with a senior at work to sipping hard liquor in company of friends upto the limit that I lost count on the number of pegs & ended throwing up right in the middle of a McDonalds outlet at MG Road. I still have the best part of the stipend in my wallet waiting to be spent for a good enough person or cause. its true I’d never make a chef but working in the kitchen with probably the best group of people I’d come across definitely enhanced my interest level & I know today I can most definitely prepare food for survival & for those who won’t be offering me numbers of any sort in return. From the very top level of the hierarchy to the fellow trainees to even the stewarding staff. I’d be the sensible one to have a “Pepsi. I got along with almost everyone & worked as a part of the team. a trip back home followed. today after a few more sessions I’m quite well aware of my limits. instead I told myself Bangalore would not be as bad afterall considering I’d have the company of some of my best friends & my closest cousin brother who were there already. . I was hardly thinking about the hotel & long hours of work at that point. Spending quality time with friends & family was out of imagination.

watching a movie alone sucks big times but I guess the practice of picking up technical aspects will have to continue in the near future too. From Mumbai to Bangalore in last 10 months almost every week on an off day I’d go for a movie. I tell everyone its fun coz there is no distraction & you can actually pick-up the technicalities but the fact is. Those who aren't much expressive often let their feelings out through such long write-ups. Craotia. It being expected there were arrangements made at a few places. Big teams would now be playing against each other & falling one by one. Chile. The day World Cup started we had a typical power-cut at our place.If you could read this far. & some alcohol. I remember people from college who helped me out in the initial days. Ronaldo.) me of those who excited me were. I’m always grateful to people who do little favours to me. I have pretty good memory & even if I don’t show it. When I come face to face most probably I’d not even talk about a single thing mentioned here. My dad took me along with him at his friend’s place. Edgar Davids. they put up a decent fight & ended up losing very narrowly. it was the same scenario with electricity & we went up to watch Italy vs Chile. Roberto Carlos. somebody who can get me out of the shell & the self destructive mode I force myself into. The next day. Its been long enough for me to safely reveal the fact that electricity would be stolen by hook lines. I enjoyed watching Chile play & they became my 1st favorite football team. Trustworthy enough for me to talk about a lot of things I want to but don’t. Norway. Though the result didn’t go as I’d have liked but football seemed very interesting & economical on time. tie-breakers & sudden deaths. I’ve always been with the underdogs so was rooting for Scotland only but with so much support on board for Brazil pretended to keep calm. it becomes easy to be around anybody maintaining peace. When you are living without any family member or close friend around. Looking into the future(with some hope)…. Just want to end this thing thanking you….Another interesting habit I picked up during this period is watching movies every week…. I . anger & empathy. My first experience was more than I could have hoped for. The knock-outs began with the anticipation of watching matches beyond the 90 minutes. And it being a Brazil match the excitement was really high. I guess only 3 of them I have had some company during this period. Well so that’s how it has been. later being replaced by Croatia because of their different looking jersey. I was in for Chile. to find an accommodation. This one turned out to be even better & as most people were supporting Italy. Emmanuel Petit & Ariel Ortega. assist on how to shell prawns or comforted me when I cut my finger instead of an onion on the very first day in kitchen. you know you have patience . Though I didn’t watch all the matches but always kept myself updated. it’s quite easy to lose your head sometimes but still when you can check your emotions & reply with a smile. Ups & downs. naturally the place was crowded. This year was definitely the most eventf ul one of my life & the maximum time I spent have been with a lot of good people I didn't even know existed in this world before. Denmark & I also had a soft corner for the Asian teams as they were considered a bit weak. golden goals. I don’t know whether it’s good or bad but I see it as a success that even after 2 years I’ve been able to keep back everything I wanted to. There is good amount of chance that things will still be the same but hopefully I’d come across some more people & at least on e of them would be there totally for me to relive some burden of the head. Though on the paper Scotland were much weaker.all alone. The teams I liked included. The match ended 2-2 with Roberto Biaggio(the only Italian player I had heard of) earning a draw with a late penalty.

Owen missed a penalty & ultimately Liverpool ended up losing 1-0. I escaped from my birthday dinner with family & ran back home to watch the final 15 mins of Liverpool vs Blackburn. a midfield maestro I cheered everytime he put on an England shirt & hated his awful tackles yet respected his passing & bullet strikes when he was in an United shirt. the guy who many would call as Liverpool’s commander-in chief feared less by the opposition strikers more by an interviewer.AND EASILY THE BEST GOAL I HAD SEEN TILL DATE.” As I watched on. My most . The match began with quick goals from both sides & then the moment that destiny had in store. I remember a red card being shown that night but didn’t remember who it was. It all was destiny. I might have still watched it. Love stories don’t have any reasoning. timing or location. 5 PM on a weekday was definitely not Live action but I guess even if I knew the result before. TAKING ON THE ENTIRE ARGENTINE DEFENCE…. I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND HIS NAME BUT HE WAS DEFINITELY THE BEST PLAYER IN THE TOURNAMENT FOR ME NOW AND EVEN BETTER WAS THE FACT THAT HE LOOKED MAY BE AS OLD AS I WAS. A SENSATIONAL RUN BY ONE OF THE ENGLISH STRIKERS. who had a better left foot than people said Roberto Carlos possesed. And after an 8 match draught a 2-0 victory was just the most special birthday present one could hope for. finally hanging up their boots : One gum chewing old man I’ve hated for years & accused of bribing the referees.“RIISE – OHH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME” convincing me that I definitely made a good choice. its obvious not everyone would understand the craze for football. “The treble”. I hadn’t seen England play yet & I kinda liked a couple of playe rs from Argentina but still they were everyone’s favorite so I wasn’t going to support them either. I don’t know why would anybody watch a repeat match. in fact there are very few memories from the entire tournament thereafter. That was the day. ENGLAND’S NO. Now a long summer awaits on the inside of the curtains draped over another season. but those who do would definitely justify the reason behind slipping out that night. Wimbledon scored a goal. maybe I was sleepy & hardly have any more memories from that match. This would probably go down as the most emotional end in all these years with multiple heroes I grew up watching.don’t remember what time it was or even what round it was but on one such night Argentina & England were up against each other. And eventually when I did become a regular after coming to Kolkata in 2002. & coming to present after almost 11 years. I made sure I didn’t miss. I remember 24th Oct 2010. the 1st Live goal I saw was once again scored by this Ginger haired Norwegian called John Arne Riise. “Smicer’s last minute winner against Chelsea on an exam morning” & one of my most favorite Liverpool moments(right alongside Gerrard’s Olympiakos hit) . Liverpool vs Wimbledon it was & Liverpool was a name I had heard or read somewhere before but never watched. showed up wearing a red jersey. call a player who just missed a penalty as his favorite one & most importantly support the stronger & more popular team against the underdogs(Totally against my principles). Few months later one fine evening I was browsing through my television to find something interesting & that BOY WHO WAS AS OLD AS ME. I could do little but to sit back & watch the match. Not that I watched all the matches as yet but whenever I saw Liverpool match on air or got to know of the timing. support a team that just lost to a much weaker opposition. it’s the same passion. But most important was the fact that now I knew the name of my favorite player – LIVERPOOL’s NO 10 “MICHAEL OWEN. My interest in football wasn’t dead beyond World Cup & I did know the names of a few football clubs by now. it was in a season opening 1-0 away victory over Aston Villa. It took me another couple of years to become a regular & moments in between included. hope & excitement t hat builds upto every matchday. Well there were consequences.20. I had found a soulmate just there.

”Football is not a matter of life & death. Mumbai or Bangalore: "whichever club you may support. an actor or a popstar. Whether its Tripura. One famous man once said. a working class hero can be much more of an inspiration than a politician. football goes on too. Football sometimes makes my day & sometimes might actually destroy a very good one. Football is a way of life & sometimes your only companion in a totally empty life. you’ll just never walk alone. isn’t that true! A footballer. there is always a new season keep a football by your side and you know. its much more than that”. the boy who looked as old as I was & whom I couldn’t hate even after the betrayal. football never leaves you & from my personal experience I can say even if you leave it behind yourself. Calcutta.” .Once the curtain raises again none of them would be seen anymore. the other guy who made the headlines that very night by earning a red card..favorite player once. later I came to know is more popularly known as David Beckham…. But like life. Whether it’s the good or bad times.

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