A postcard from India

29 Feb

Ed Beavan tells of his travails of following the Blues in the subcontinent after his recent move to India
Some of you may know that in January I made quite a few significant life changes. Firstly I married the lovely Kirsten, and secondly I moved to the foothills of the Himalayas to work at Woodstock School, a leading international Christian boarding school in northern India, where my wife grew up.
As I write there are monkeys frolicking around on the roof while passing cars blare their horns as they career along the mountain road which is my new walk to work. It sure beats the Tube for a commute.
But how has this impacted on my ability to follow my beloved Shrimpers, and football in general, I hear you cry?
Well actually in terms of the Premier League, I now have football on tap. On Saturdays the early kick off is shown, then two 3 o’clock games simultaneously, and then the late game. Both Sunday games are also shown. FA Cup and League Cup matches are shown on a film channel (don’t ask me why). Added to this there is live Bundesleiga, Serie A, and SPL, so you could actually not leave the house all weekend watching wall-to-wall footy. The other day I found myself watching Motherwell v Dundee United, a spectacle so dull even the commentator sounded bored, although it was nice to see former Blues’ left back Steven Hammell still going strong.
Interestingly football is starting to make some headway in India. Although it will be difficult to dislodge cricket as the number one sport, an Indian Premier Soccer League, a franchised-based league similar to the Indian Premier Leaguge in cricket, was recently launched with an auction including Robert Pires, Robbie Fowler, Hernan Crespo and Jay-Jay Okacha.
Here at the school, English football is very popular, and predictably all the kids support Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal. The other day I chatted to a kid in a Chelsea top, asking him about his thoughts on their season, to which he replied, “Oh I support Man Utd now, because they’re better this year”. I feel I need to give an assembly on the joys of supporting the underdog and the virtue of loyalty (and that 100 per cent win record we have against United!).
As for following Southend, well obviously the internet is a lifeline helping me keep constantly in touch. Because of the time difference (we are five and a half hours ahead), I frequently have to excuse myself at dinner parties on Saturday night to go and check the score from Roots Hall. Midweek results I check first thing at my desk on a Wednesday, and I can still waste plenty of time on all the usual Shrimpers-related forums and websites. I can also listen to FiveLive online (but not BBC Essex). So all in all it’s not too arduous.
The only downside is not being able to see our goals, as the BBC website and iplayer do not have the rights to show Football League goals here, which is a real shame. And of course I miss the banter of being at a game, the camaraderie of the away trips with the AAS crew, and the joy of being at Roots Hall, in all its dilapidated charm.
So for now my quest to get to the 92 league grounds is on hold, and it is with bated breath from afar this sole Shrimper in India (are there any more? If so please get in touch) is eagerly keeping tabs on our run in. Here’s hoping we can clinch promotion, preferably avoiding the play offs.
And if you want to come spread the good word of the Shrimpers to India, please come and visit this fascinating land of curry, cricket and karma. Check out the school website http://www.woodstock.in and see you soon! edbeavan@woodstock.ac.in


One Response to “A postcard from India”

  1. Leke Odunsi February 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    cant you get blues world over there ?

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