It said often, that India only has two passions, Cricket and Bollywood (Indian film industry). And now that so many of our movie stars are getting connected to cricket as team owners, mascots for teams, team ambassadors etc., I don't think I would be wrong in saying that India is ruled by the sport called cricket.
Currently, India are doing fairly well at cricket. We have just reached the number one spot in the rankings (it is another matter, it was only for a day and few minutes) and we also just won the tri-series event.
Currently everything is nice about Indian cricket. But thing were not so good, when India did not do very well in the world t20 championship (20-20 is a form of cricket) and lost the title which they had earned two years ago.
People were very upset with the team's poor performance. Everything that was done well, before the tournament notwithstanding.
This is when I, for the first time, thought about Indian football. Football is a sport hardly recognized in India. There are many football fans, but most of them support Manchester United, AC Milan, Chelsea and other European teams.
There aren't many who care about the teams from Bengal, Punjab, Hyderabad etc. I don't know the teams myself, and that too shows how little we care about Indian football (I of course don't watch much football anyway).
This is basically because we Indians are people who look to succeed; we look for places where we can succeed. We don't look for passions; we look passions that can make us happy without too much work.
And this nature is only very recently developed, earlier when India were minnows in cricket, we still found the backing. This has only started after the ascent of cricket.
Loving football in India would make you just the opposite of this nature. It would make you a minnow lover. And loving minnows doesn't reap fruits very often.
That is why, I salute my school mate and friend Shreyas Chitnis, a person who used to write on football some time back. You could see the glow in his eyes when India won the Nehru cup, you could see it mattered.
He is one of the few fans in India, who has had to repeatedly face smatterings as the Indian team often makes an early exit, from tournaments. You finally realize how much those wins, which come few and far between, matter.
For the first time, I respected the players of Bangladesh, who are trying so hard to become a better cricketing nation. They try to be positive but often fail and the critics call them a side that isn't willing to learn.
These Indian football fans hear this kind of criticism all the time. It is very hard to be positive and follow a sport in such a situation.
Shreyas and others like him are doing a fantastic job and are holding a candle that has almost burnt out on their palms. Thinking of ways to make the candle grow back to it's full height. And all this, when their hands are burnt and burdened with the losses.
I, Dann Khan or Anushrut (my real name), openly admit that Indian football fans are a the Ideal fans. They are people following the sport and not the winners. It is one of the reasons why their understanding of the game is much better than ours.
ps-I also, admire fans of any other sport which India plays as a minnow( almost everything other than cricket). It is just that India's Nehru cup victory made me write this piece on football.