The Telegraph
Monday , July 14 , 2014
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Wide awake for World Cup

- Beautiful game turns Ranchi into mini-Rio

Calculated tactical play clashes with pure Latin passion. Messi’s Maradona moment-in-the-making.

It doesn’t get any bigger than this. It’s the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final in Rio de Janeiro, when Germany and Argentina play ball on the annals of history.

Separated by eight hours and 9,186 miles, Ranchi in Jharkhand, India, and Rio in Brazil are united in spirit.

Owing to different time zones, Brazil tunes in to Rio’s Maracana Stadium — or the TV as the case may be — at 4.30pm on July 13, Ranchi, like the rest of India, will switch on World Cup action on television at 12.30am, July 14.

But the Jharkhand capital, which normally sleeps early, is prepared to be awake to side with either Argentina or Germany in the mother of all clashes.

Dr J.K. Mitra, president of the Indian Medical Association (Ranchi), a diehard soccer fan, has thought of every possible way to be wide-awake for soccer history.

“My husband will take a two-hour power nap before the match,” said his better half Ujjwala. “He has requested me to give him company so I will see the match till interval and then go to bed,” she said.

“I will keep coffee and cookies for him, but I think the excitement will be enough,” she added with a grin.

“I am in a complete Rio mood. This is a Rio Sunday. I can feel my goosebumps. And yes, I will sleep from 10pm to midnight to wake up fresh. I’ve set the alarm in two mobile handsets,” Mitra, a careful planner, said.

Arjun Majumdar, assistant commercial manager, Ranchi railway division, is also no less. He’s preparing to eat light at a party, come home and have lemon tea and stay up. Majumdar will also sacrifice his gym routine on Monday.

“Must keep awake. No yawning too. It’s Germany versus Argentina, a great match and a dream final. Both teams are my favourites,” he said.

Wife Tanaya will give him company initially for the match. “I’ll watch till half-time, I guess,” she said.

Soumi and Partha Guha, both development professionals, are planning to stay up. Unlike Ujjwala and Tanaya, Soumi is a diehard soccer buff.

“Dinner with Müller and Messi. What more can we want?” smiled the working mother of an eight-year-old boy. The Guhas will put their son to bed and have a late dinner in front of the television.

“Fruit punch, mutton biryani, crispy baby corn and pasta salad,” chimed the couple together. “World’s greatest football deserves great food,” Partha said. “If it rains and the dish antenna acts up, we will switch over to the PC screen to watch the match live on the Net. Fingers crossed.”

Sanchita and Abhijeet, also Ranchi-based development professionals, left for Calcutta to watch the final with their extended family.

“Football with family. Unbeatable combination,” Abhijeet said over phone. “Dad asked if we wanted to watch the final alone. That was hint enough,” he said.

Ashok Baraik, councillor of ward No. 28, wants to make it a night to remember. “I will watch the World Cup final with 15 people. We are ready with cold drinks, chips, pizza and Indian snacks. The joke is if the number of goals would be more than dishes. There are crackers too,” he said.

Which team would he burst crackers for? Baraik grinned, not telling. What if it rains tonight? “The soccer god will keep the weather pleasant,” he said.