June 15, 2006
By Aparajith Ramnath
An avalanche of hype surrounds
This event, gargantuan in scale
That in excitement, fervour and skill abounds
Making others in comparison pale.
Say researchers, five out of seven
Or some such arcane fraction
Of people in the world will take in
At least a part of the action.
Says the fan, he will follow
Of the sixty-four, every clash
Were he to miss one, he’d feel hollow,
With only his teeth to gnash.
Say the TV networks, they will beam
Every goal netted, every tackle made
Every corner taken by every team
Every substitute drinking lemonade.
It is amidst such unabashed hyperbole
That the extravaganza kicks off
But what will it for the layman hold
Who can’t tell onside from off?
A number of intangibles, that is certain
For however much a layman one is
This tournament – and it doesn’t come often
Has an inexplicable fizz.
For who can remain unaffected
By the surge of unity that runs through
Row upon row of fans, united
Clad in the colours of the teams on view
As the band strikes up their anthems
And the players, hands on hearts
Sing proudly, and in tandem
With millions, in various parts?
By the ebb and flow of the game
As the ball criss-crosses the lush field
(Now here, now there, oh it’s back again!)
By the referee’s whistle as victory’s sealed?
By the sudden sensitisation
To thirty-two different cultures
To the style of play, the sense of tradition
With which each team on to the field ventures?
By the pot-pourri of opinions and accents
Of commentators stylish
As they chip in with their two cents'
Worth, these expert analysts?
So, getting back to hyperbole mode
(Notice how I am eloquent waxing?)
A species that can afford
A month to devote to the whizzing
Of ball from foot to goalpost
And comments and cheers around the ground
Might have a better idea than most
‘bout how happiness is to be found!