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     Volume 5 Issue 99 | June 16, 2006|

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View from the Bottom

World Cup Boon and Blues

Shahnoor Wahid

The World Cup Football competition is taking place in some far away country but its fever is spreading fast in Bangladesh. One can see flags of various playing countries fluttering atop houses all over. People are also painting their faces in a frantic show of fraternity. And to add fear to the fervour, already a 'fatwa' from a petty peddler of religion has been handed over to the people regarding hoisting the flags of the 'infidels' in this country! But it seems the people of the land are not interested at the moment to delve into divine dialectics. The earthly euphoria centering on a round object called football has a greater 'kick' than anything else.

All the statistics indicate that football, especially the World Cup, is an occasion for men's merriment, and mayhem. All the players are ubiquitously men. The referees are men. And ninety percent of the spectators at the stadium, or at home sitting before the TV sets are men. If there are women at the stadium, they also are there for the men as well. 'For your eyes only.'

Since most games will be held in late evenings Bangladesh time, working men will have tough time getting up from sleep to go to office. One will find a sleepy-looking boss reprimanding a sleepy-looking official for coming late to work. But by lunchtime they will be discussing the game of last evening like two buddies.

This World Cup Football furor is causing upsets not only in the playgrounds but also in many homes in our country. To an important segment of our population the frenzy of kicking a silly-looking round object by some over-paid and over-indulged adult men is next to buffoonery. This segment comprises our mothers and housewives. They are against the whole house watching like crazy the ludicrous display of men in socks and shorts at hours when their favourite Bangla and Hindi serials are on TV. These serials may not mean much to the men but they act as sleeping pills for them. So, you can't really take away from them the much-needed panacea for insomnia. They argue: We spend the whole day cooking and cleaning for you useless men and only get the opportunity to watch TV in the evenings and late nights. But now this stupid thing called World Cup is here for the whole month to spoil our only leisure time! No way! They shout in unison. They also put up the argument with great conviction: If we fail to watch the episodes for one whole month we shall not be able to know what happened to the story! That will be next to disaster! And then what about all the cooking programmes! If we don't watch them we shall not be able to cook anything new for you guys! What strong logic!

And newly-wed brides will have lots of complaining to do to their doting mothers. 'That brute of a man watched football with friends half the night and slept like a pig through the rest half, with friends!'

Then you have the problem with the number of TV sets in the house. During World Cup competitions it's men who take control of the only set in the house. Well, what if some sisters also want to watch some of the games of their dream teams? But bhaiyas won't allow them entry, as their friends will come over to watch and have some >hulla-gulla. Even some genuine pleading and crying won't make them budge an inch. So, the next course of action is going upto mother and give your best shot at acting. If you can melt her heart you might get a smaller TV set for your room. Now you may as well invite your friends to come over and spend the night with you. But sisters, you'll have to keep your voice at low pitch because if mother hears that you guys are only saying ooh and aah in appreciation of those good-looking men running in the field, she might not allow you to watch the game.

Our very own home minister should be the happiest person on earth for one whole month. Why? The late night games will keep most men up and screaming at home. Therefore, there will be lesser number of snatching targets on the roads and streets. Shopping malls will also close down early to the dismay of the car-jackers and hijackers. Bad month for business for our nocturnal brothers. Maybe they will ultimately decide to stay home and watch the games with a sardonic face!

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