Being brought up in Kolkata for the most part of my life football has been a common word for me.
Even though I was never much of a football freak in my childhood, and hardly ever engaged in the all pervading Mohon Bagan - East Bengal debate in Kolkata, now when I see kids play, I really miss not having played football. Especially during the rains - soaking in the mud.
While - writing this, I realize that probably it is not the football, but the excitement, the enthusiasm and the sheer happiness of running in the rain, or shouting to your heart's content is what I miss. Kolkata -they say, has a slower pace than Mumbai or Delhi, but perhaps that is why we still have office goers meet up for a football match on Sundays. In fact, when I have to go somewhere on Saturdays and Sundays, I see playgrounds filled with kids, young people, old people playing different types of games - mostly cricket and football , especially in and around the Golpark area and the famous Maidan stretch.
It is such a pleasant sight to watch these kids without their heavy school bags, playing in the fields, running and enjoying themselves to the fullest. However, on closer inspection it occurred to me, that these sights are only found on Saturdays and Sundays, and the bigger play grounds always had a coach or two to guide the children.
Though I agree that competition is a good thing, I wish that at times such games could be preserved as games - unadulterated play and fun, without the incumbent pressures of proving oneself yet again. There is a lot of that to be done after growing up!
I yearn to go back in time to enjoy my childhood, but I can't.
For those who can, let them make the best memories out of it, for everyone deserves to be the Gostho Paul of their life.
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