Malappuram, (that is my my district in Kerala) is known mainly for the low education rates, for being the only district in south india to have major muslim population and for gulf money. But i tell you what it should be known for. For warm and kind natured people, for smart business minds and their craze in football.
Yesterday I was watching a music channel show where people had difficulty telling who scored the maximum worldcup goals, and which country did Messi belonged to. Someone should come here and ask that to five year olds, and girls, and grandmas. There is average hulchal for premiere league and euro cup like tourneys, there is roony and beckham fans. There is local clubs which play seven's (which I am not sure is approved by fifa) in which players from africa comes to play. Yup. I see african guys walk in streets all the time and they look homely.
And then comes worldcup. And its like a festival, which is going on here. There are posters and banners, of course, of every team, of course, EVERYWHERE. When I say everywhere, I mean it. At every nook, every junction, every turn, on bus' and autos, cars and bikes have ribbons of team colours hanging on them, houses gets painted in blue and white, and yellow and green, theatres show matches live, and then there are the bets.
Oh there are the bets. From haircuts and facial hair removal to big money and gadgets. I've seen guy with ronaldo's hair cut. Brazil's ronaldo. Oh yes, worst haircut ever! If that does not prove my point I dont know what will.
The speculations, match analysis.. Dunga and maradona writes for a regional daily. Together. I dont know another place they are likely to coexist.
Of course everyone watches the games, every single one too.
Since the majority supports brazil and argentina, brazil's lose and subsequent exit was received with mixed reactions. But the next day, when argentina lost, there were fireworks, processions, guys dancing on streets, angry revolts...
This is pretty much the tale of whole malabar, mostly whole kerala.
Till the festival lasts, there will be emotions, late nights, colourful ribbons, wagers, excitement...
Till then.. Its the football times :-)