“ AMME. Do we really need ginger to make chicken, also is garam masala a must ? “
After the Argentina game, I came to the apartment. It was the first time I am seeing Pasha. Andrey’s dad. He greeted me with a Namaste hand posture. It was really strange as it was the first time anyones done that in Moscow. He didn’t speak English so I took out google translate and we started this conversation which was really cool. He made a bed for us and he showed me where everything was . He was one of the kindest Russians I met so far. Then Amar came and a while later Andrey came from work. Pasha made us this delicious dish with potatoes and salad and we had the best meal we have had in days. The taste of home cooked meals is second to none. Trust me, doesn’t matter which country you are in. It just oozes love.
We had a good nights sleep and woke up next day. This is when I started to get to know them better.
I would describe him as the fittest 56 year old I have seen in my life. He takes care of himself like no one I have seen. He wasn’t eating the rich potato dish he made for us. He was going to run a marathon the next morning and so he was eating sunflower seeds ( Which oddly tastes a lot like peanuts.) If you take a look at his trophy cabinet, even if you cant read the Russian, but you can read the numbers. 130, 160, Km? Andrey confirmed. He runs marathons and a look at his pictures show just how much of an active life style he lives. You can see that in his face too. He is a person who has seen a lot of the world and a look at his eyes is like a periscope into the soul of a Russian who has lived through the best and worst of the country. His gaze reminds me of the Italian ref Colina. Andrey says he was huntsman. I think it must mean like a park ranger. Which is super cool. I can assume he was out in the wilderness when the Russian winter comes fighting off bears and fishing salmon. Living off the land in a true nomad style. Andre says after watching “ Into the wild “ Pasha said Mccandeless was stupid going hunting for big game and that he should have just fished. When Pasha says it, its got some weight in it. He is super calm and relaxed. I have a feeling he is a Indophile too. I found an Amruthangan balm, an oum sign, garam masala and Assam tea in the house. Things which you don’t usually expect to encounter. It was insane. Just that the language barrier stopped us from communicating properly. But he spoke through kindness and I can understand that completely.
I am 21 years old. Andrey is 21 years old. I expected him to be older than that. He is a retail supplier in Decathlon Russia. Which is a really good place on the hierarchy if you look at it from an India perspective. Especially since he is so young. From his pictures I realised that he was into snow sports like snowboarding and skiing. I also knew his girlfriend lived with him. Since I was not using WhatsApp for a long time, Amar was doing all the talking for us. And the first time I met him in the metro was the first time we had a conversation in a really long time.
I know I use this phrase a lot but he is super cool. One of the chillest guys I have met in a really long time. He enjoyed us being there as much as we enjoyed being there. He loves diversity, he loves that we speak a different language every state and that we are so different. He always gets really excited when we find something common to talk about, may it be green day or Stalingrad or call of duty or that both Russians and Indians call tea, chai. I think If I was Russian I would be something like him. ( Cause we have so much in common) He still has that wonder about the world in his eyes. Maybe that is why he is the only Russian to accept us. He even asked if me and Amar were comfortable sharing the same bed. :P. What a babe. His apartment is beautiful. I just love the place. I wish I could spend more time with Andrey and get to know him better. He plays the guitar too and we did a duet of “ Creep” by radio head. ( The mallu and the Russian accents make it sound like Chakocha :p) We are planning a 3 day cycling expedition for that. Hopefully it will come through.
WE ARE GONNA SING CREEP SOON
So next morning we decided we are cooking Indian. So I call up my mom and ask how to make Kerala beef fry. Cause if there is one thing mallus like doing, it making sure that our delicacies are made world famous. So we hit the supermarket, and thats where the problem arises. Like 60 % of the things you need are either not available or are in the form of powder. Here you get tomatoes as a powder. Insane. So we took everything we out find for it an hoped for the best. It was the first time I was cooking in years. It took me 2000 km of travel to step into a kitchen. #feminism.
But the final product didn’t turn out too bad to be honest. We loved it, not much spices but Andrey could eat it so easily just cause of that. Pasha also said it was good and our efforts were vindicated.
Now it was time to kelambaloski to the game. Today was Germany vs Mexico. And I knew what that meant. The most vociferous fans were going to take over today. They fucking took over the metro. You know you are in the mood, when sombreros and mariachi bands fucking take over the metro man.
I walk outside Sportinyava and you can hear the party from a mile away. You encounter the odd German supporter, but it was all Mexico all the way. Hobres, Amigos, Chickas and seniors had Moscow by the balls. And Then there was this bridge under which they let the party start.
Check out the pictures and the vids.
I finally make it to my seat. I am so happy as its surrounded by Mexicans. I am right above the Mexican fan base and to my opposite are the Gemans. Zee Germans made one entire stand appear white and the German flags when they are waved together looks amazing.
When Germany walked out, I saw my heroes. Unlike Argentina, there was a world class player in every position. Ozil, the way he walks, the way he touches the ball. There is so much class oozing. I have had a man crush on Hummels since the day and I saw him and this might come out a bit homoerotic, but what a man. ( Ok it didn’t). On the Mexican side, there was Chicharito. He used to my favourite player at united once upon a time. And his signature prayer before kickoff send shivers down my spine. It was all coming true man. The dream.
When the Mexican national anthem came on, it felt so familiar. I used like 10 words I had learned from Dora the explorer and I was soon part of La Familia. I was screaming with Mexico supporters. Cudero cudero means fuck you fuck you. Stretching your hands out and waving your like an octopus means you are a pussy. The fans were rabid.
First half both teams started brightly, my favourite player to watch was OZIL. The way he handled the ball, looked for overlapping runs. I was like, he is the epitome of what an attacking midfielder should be.
Ochua was immense in goal and then before you know it Mexico get a counter. The type you would only expect arsenal to fall to, not Germany :p. Then it came, Hernandes passes to Lazano. We were all off our seats, then he cuts inside to leave the full back struggling for balance. Thats what I love the most about this Mexico side. They were playing the champions of the world, Germany, one of the best tournament teams ever and Lazano had the audacity to cut inside and shoot one past Neurer. I am not exaggerating when I say this. But it rained beer that instant. It was fucking amazing. The Mexico fans knew it was coming. They didn’t seem surprised, the fans before the game told me we are going to win, I told them I hope too. But this wasn’t hope, this was conviction. They knew it, the players knew and by the end of the game, I realise that this Mexico side can progress a lot in the competition. I see entire families hugging each other, trying to hold in tears. Strangers became hombres. It was the moment when you start to think. Is football the only thing which can bring all of humanity together again. I don’t know. But I wish to think so.
Last 5 minutes were the best ever. Germany was attacking and attacking and the Mexican defence was holding strong. Rafa Marquez came on. This is his 5th world cup. He comes on against the champs and rallies the defence in the last 5 minutes. Its like a movie script. After a point, all you can hear is ay, ayyy, ayyy, the Mexicans chant. I join even though I don’t know it. Mexicans arm in arm, couples, families, kids all of them resonating in thought. And when the final whistle blew. Gomaale.
I stayed back with them for a while to see how awesome the celebrations would be. I am sure the party went late into the night. But I had to kelambaloski fast. We had a train to catch to Nizhni Novgorod the same night. Amar was already there and I was in the metro. It was a race against time as the metro station closer to the stadium was blocked. I ran and finally got on a metro. But I was having second thoughts about going to Niznhi, cause I didn’t take my Mac and I wouldn’t be able to write for a few days. So I got to the train and asked Amar the same question. Should I come? Since Amar is the calmest person I know, he didn’t fuck me life, but if it was the other way around, I would have made sure every Russian in that compartment remembered what Myre meant. I was so tired after the game. We went got of at Vladimir and slept in the station for our next train. We got in that, a sleeper train and we finally reached Nizhni in the morning.