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Football widows declare war

Football widows declare war

india Updated: Jun 10, 2006 03:29 IST

It is that time of the four-year cycle again. When the eye muscles get more exercise than any other body part, nutrition boils down to mugs of beer and company is limited to a few like-minded louts. And when even earplugs can’t block off nerve-numbing cries of goooooooooooooooo….al!

Single status is a phenomenon that descends periodically on the partners of sports fans, afflicting generally — but not always — women. But with cricket managing to cut across gender barriers, it’s in World Cup season that football widowhood grips our cities. Call it inexperience or indulgence, but they know there are better options to blowing the whistle while the men drool over Ronaldinho’s dribble, Zidane’s passes and Carlos’ free kicks.

Nope, not flashing a card of any hue. The clique of football widows devises its own innovative ways to survive 30 days of World Cup action (see box, Surviving Soccer).

While some—notably, those in the early stages of their relationship—will grin and beer it with their partners, for others it’s time to give the virtues of selfishness free play. Caroline Samuel, 32, a sports management professional, for instance, will organise screenings of the US Open while her football-fanatic husband Ashley, a business manager with telecom firm ZTE, cheers for Brazil. “I come from a sport-loving family. And Ashley has played at the highest level in Bengal. Still, you’ve got to do your own thing at times. And since he’ll be busy with soccer, I’ll have a ball watching golf with my friends and clients,” she says.

What’s better than putting your feet up to escape the city heat and football hooliganism? So, chilling in the hills is a popular option. Madhvi Menon, an HR official with Ernst & Young, will go on a holiday with friends to Mussourie and Dhanaulti while her footballer husband Rohit, a telecom executive with Petro ITGlobal, fits in large doses of live screenings with night football for the Invadors, a team in the Delhi Diplomatic International Soccer League. “Savvy UK travel agents are even offering football-free hotels where the ‘F’ word is taboo. We’ll manage with a hotel that doesn’t have cable TV,” she says.

Of course, the well-heeled can always say Guten Germany if their hubbies sponsor the trip. “This time round, my husband Ajit has made amends for all the nights he’s woken me up for those 15 minutes between two halves of a match. He is taking my son and me to Germany. So, I’ve put off my long-planned trip to Tibet till the next World Cup,” says Sriparna Chaudhury, 40, a development sector executive with The Hunger Project.

Shweta Jogi, 28, a banker with HDFC, keeps long hours like her banker husband Jatin, who works for Stanchart. So, the idea of staying up till the wee hours during the World Cup doesn’t appeal to her much. “She’s threatened to keep the television out of the bedroom and even stay with her mom if the football frenzy reaches unmanageable limits,” says Jatin.

Industrialist Aasheesh Kapoor of OK Industries, a regular at the Delhi Diplomatic International Soccer League, is planning to get hitched in a few months. And his fiancée Sumati is planning an interesting counter-attack on soccer mania during the World Cup. “I’ll go shopping for my trousseau with Aasheesh’s credit card,” she says. “Splurging on my man’s plastic is the biggest kick for me.”As they say, all’s fair in love and football. And there’s always the doosra passion of cricket to go back to.

First Published: Jun 10, 2006 03:29 IST