Mohun Bagan or East Bengal?

When I was a kid, I was a fan/supporter/follower of anything my dad would support. I honestly had no idea of why to support or not to support someone. My rule was pretty simple -- if my father supported and/or cheered for a team, I was going to support it too. So during the India-West Indies test series my uncles would root for Vengsarkar or Javagal Srinath, and my father would laugh at them when Clive Lloyd or Gordon Greenidge would butcher them apart. It was friendly banter, of course, but as far as I was concerned, this was absolute fun as a four-year-old to be cheering louder than anybody else every time a wicket fell or a six was belted.

Naturally, by default, I became a "supporter" of Mohun Bagan because my father was one. And by supporter, I mean I was happy when I got news of them winning, especially over arch rival East Bengal. But beyond that - who were the strikers playing in the next match, which little known all-Maharashtra tournament did they win recently, what field position is the coach going to use for the season - I honestly didn't know or care much for. But when I switched schools and joined the Ramakrishna Mission, one of the most innocuous questions I was asked was, "So, are you a Mohun Bagan or an East Bengal supporter?". Unfortunately, most of the people surrounding me at that instant were East Bengal supporters. And they began quizzing me with the exact kind of questions I wrote above. I think it was mostly because they wanted to rub in the fact that East Bengal had beat Mohun Bagan in the last game or something. But now that I drew a complete blank on those, and became jail bait.

I began to get hounded by these people at all times in the unlikeliest of places. On my way to the playground, school tiffin breaks - random people would ask me these questions. And I would draw a complete blank and stare back at them like a retard. Of course they never missed a chance to laugh at my "fellow Mohun Bagan"-ites because of this. It sparked quite a frenzy among this latter group of course. As part of the two pronged war room strategy they adopted, people who were otherwise mean to me would coach me in private about the next league game or the names full eleven players of the team. The other "prong" was to find someone equally ignorant of East Bengal football statistics as I - which didn't turn out to be so difficult after all. The poor guy started to get hounded in revenge, mostly for Mohun Bagan rather than for me. And the worst part was half-knowledge. If I overheard a conversation somewhere that our team had won three of five national tournaments this year, I would try to rub that in on the East Bengal people when our little tete-a-tete happened the next time. But of course, I wouldn't know the names of those tournaments. And the people who were supposed to be taunted would taunt me back and tell me the names of the cups we've won that year. The circle was endless.

In life, three simple words can solve most of the world's problems: "Go fug yourself". Unfortunately at that time, it wasn't an option. Let alone that, uttering the words "Shahrukh Khan" would immediately draw a hushed silence over the room. So when there would be a lull in the general proceedings of cricket or there wouldn't be a festival/exam/election in sight, it would be a really bad time for me. And boy did I hate the time when Mohun Bagan lost to East Bengal on a Saturday afternoon... :( :( Some of us did not even show up for dinner that night. For one of my friends who was among the lucky few to have not verbally signed up for any of the camps, his standard answer to the question was, "Argentina"! :)

So this whole recollection was triggered by one of my friends here telling me that I should keep up with my universities' American football team, how they're doing, etc. since he saw me wearing the university T-shirt a few times. I was repeating the story above to him when he suggested I should put it on my blog. And honestly, right now, I really wish I meet with one of my old friends. And they should ask me the names of the current playing eleven in the Mohun Bagan squad. I swear I can (and will) tell them the three golden words in eleven different languages! :D


  1. Eleven different languages huh? Kya baat hai!

    Btw the same thing happens to me, coz as much as I love the Irirsh, I never keep up with the team...

    Sky :)

  2. Sky, naah its just a figure of speech. But if I do tell you that I was swearing in French, you will have no choice but to believe me, right? :P

  3. ^^ I know. If I say gibberish and say it's an african dialect, no one's going to contradict me. The Mohun Bagan/EB thing does get too much at times. I always look away when I hear people discussing it.

  4. you cant speak gibberish and get away..come on!

    I think the you-support-a-club-because-your-dad-supports-it theory is justified. Unlike the way the EPL is followed in India today


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