I have been told by many relatives that I have a striking resemblance to my father. But lately, I have noticed that I have picked up a habit that my father had picked up in his mid-30s. This has been happening totally voluntarily.
My Father is a die-hard East Bengal (EB) fan. He used to go to all the home games in the Salt Lake Stadium. There have been seasons where he hadn’t missed a single home game of EB in the Yuva Bharati Stadium. But suddenly, around 2003-2004, he stopped going to the stadium. It stopped completely. And he never went back until the 2018 Kolkata League Derby when his favorite Subhas Bhowmick was back at the club (ironically, that was the last time Subhas Bhowmick would coach the Red and the Golds). He even started following Chelsea massively when Jose Mourinho was at the club, and he followed them up until the Don Carlo era. Still, I have noticed that over the years his interest has declined. The work pressure increased and the passion for football decreased simultaneously.
Now this disinterest in the game is something that I have been feeling for a year or two. Specially when it comes to European Football. Previously, I would stay awake up until 4 AM. I would watch the game, read the press comments after that, and fight with others about the match result on WhatsApp. Nowadays, I skip late-night matches like anything. I am more than happy to watch the extended highlights the next morning while having my morning coffee. And this has further increased since I moved to Bangalore. The thought of being grumpy while working due to less sleep puts me to sleep very easily. Since moving to Bangalore, I have watched very few matches live late-night: Liverpool-Inter, Italy-Macedonia, Milan Derby, Inter-Juve final, etc. I have even skipped the FA Cup final because I had TCS10k the next morning.
I simply watch a match and move on with my life. I used to think Football is life. Nowadays, there are many things that have far more importance than Football. The only constant in football has been East Bengal FC. Even if I am missing a match due to some work, I still keep looking at the notification bar for updates. This again has a similarity with the way my father would receive the match updates.
Even though he had stopped going to stadiums, he would still watch and follow EB’s matches closely. When he would be at the work, I would call him at regular intervals to give him the updates of a match, I would work like an archaic Fotmob or OneFootball app on which I rely for updates. The work and circumstances might have (and had) subdued the passion, but it hasn’t (and hadn’t) destroyed it completely. The reason for that, I feel is simple. This is the club I started supporting because of my father (and my grandfather and my uncle). I didn’t pick East Bengal. East Bengal picked me. And the affection for the color, crest, and club will probably be there for a long time. Just like it is still there with my father in a minimal fashion. Like father, like Son.