Towns and villages in Kerala are in the grip of football fever
Football crazy Kerala is this time celebrating the FIFA World Cup in style. Crazy fans have literally painted whatever they can with the colours of their favourite teams. Roads, public taps, houses and even the ubiquitous jackfruit now sport the colours of the teams participating in the World Cup in Russia.
Autorickshaws, scooters and cars too have a new dash of paint of the countries participating in the world cup. The favourites are Brazil, Argentina and Germany. Top players have special billboards festooned with garlands, balloons and danglers.
Local teashops are also decorated and some even serve tea in cups painted in the colour of the Brazilian or Argentinian teams.
Visitors to Kerala would be left wondering if elections to Brazilian or German parliament are on. That is the type of decoration all across towns and villages.
Fans had booked vantage points well in advance to set up hoardings and danglers.
Despite the fever, there are no clashes. Numerous fan and sports clubs know how to enjoy the game in the right spirit.
Hotels in all major cities and towns are geared up to attract fans. Incidentally, this is the first major sporting event since the lifting of alcohol ban. And the timings of the World Cup matches are in the right `spirit’. Most matches are at around 5.30pm – the time when many in Kerala plan to head for a bar and down a few pegs.
Many restaurants are ready with special offers for the Fifa World Cup.
Major restaurants in Kochi, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kottayam have set up giant screens for the game and have prepared a special list of cocktails for the screening. Special dishes from the countries that are taking part in the World Cup form part of the menu.
Few hotels have also said that they would not be screening after 11pm as per the excise rules but are glad that most matches are in afternoon and evening.
Hotels have set apart special places for screening the matches. Apart from the giant LED screen, the area is embellished with flags of participating countries and football accessories.
But some want to enjoy the lovely game in private. Many fans have booked rooms for spending the evening with their family and friends. These fans want to down a couple of drinks while watching the matches and spend the late night without driving back home.