Monday, July 17, 2017

The Calcutta Comeback

60 minutes into the World Cup Qualifier and the packed Salt Lake stadium has gone quiet. India are already 2 goals behind. They have finally managed to wrest a corner kick from regional footballing power Japan. The ball has been curled in, into that grey area between a goalkeeper's outstretched arms and the goal seeker's desperate head. Oh, look, it's in the net! It's in the net! The Indians are going crazy, on and off the field. 

Suddenly Japan don't look so much in control anymore. Ugly passes and uglier tackles start to make an appearance. The Calcutta crowd has sensed  that they are onto something. Their roar is a wall of noise now, slowing down the brains and pumping up the anxiety of the visitors from the Far East. How much more time left, the visitors keep asking the referee, how much more?

Time enough for Nabi to pump two more goals in, sleek attacking moves that begin in a web of passes and end in decisive thunderbolts that ensure history has been made. India have been beaten Japan 3-2, coming back out of nowhere. Can this country of 1.3 billion finally dream of bigger things and better days? Has it finally found the 11 men it needs to make it to the World Cup finals?

This really happened. This is not news from fake news factories like OpIndia or Postcardnews or This really happened... on an XBox 360, in the same genteel suburb of Kolkata where the actual stadium is, with 100001 spectators roaring their approval. Only 1 of them happened to be outside the TV screen though. He seemed to be punching buttons on a gaming remote, punching buttons and cursing aloud with a mad gleam in his eyes.

The annual revenues of the video game industry have long crossed the annual take-home packages of the movie, music and book industry combined. About 20 years ago.

Is it any surprise? The movie makers may call themselves dream merchants, selling dreams in darkened movie halls but video games... they offer you partnerships.

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