Monday, June 14, 2010

Is Football More Important Than Life and Death?

Malabar, or northern Kerala, is the paradise of soccer lovers in Kerala, or so the cliché goes. There is something in the air in northern Kerala that creates better writers and more ardent soccer fans than in the southern parts. You just need to travel through the region to find out how deep runs footbal fever in Malabar.

Virtually every junction in Malappuram and Kozhikkode districts is decorated with flex boards of football World Cup. Not only the boards are aesthetically designed, but these have cleverly worded captions too. Kaka is a favorite of wordsmiths, as the word “kaka” in Malayalam means crow. Many Malayalam proverbs involving crow are twisted to great comic effect. One fan of Maradona's boys wrote in a flex board: “Messikku mukalil kakkayum parakkilla”. That is, even Kaka (crow in Malayalam) would not fly over Messi.

In the very next junction, Samba fans replied stylishly: “Aayiram Messikku ara Kaka (Half a Kaka is enough for thousand Messis). Well, judging by the posters it looks like Brazil has the maximum number of fans, followed by Argentina. Other countries like Portugal, England, and even France have some loyal Malayali supporters.

On the other hand, southern Keralites seem to have kept their soccer emotions under check prior to the World Cup. However, things are hotting up, football-wise, despite the heavy rain in these parts. Yesterday's match between Argentina and Nigeria was keenly watched and discussed here. And football did become a more important matter than life and death here.

Ambu, a native of Mudapuram, near Chirayinkeezhu about 35 km from Thiruvananthapuram, succumbed to injuries sustained during a brawl with some cable TV operators yesterday. The brawl broke out after cable TV connection was lost in the area. Ambu, it is said, demanded immediate resumption of Cable TV network. But the cable TV operators were not able to repair the connection. It resulted in a quarrel and subsequent fighting between Ambu and the cable TV operators. Ambu suffered injuries, which later proved fatal.

Bill Shankly (who is know more famous for his quote, “football is not a matter of life and death. It is much more that”, than his achievements with Liverpool) must be the greatest prophet as far as football is concerned.