North Korean fans
Pics by Mahesh Poudyal
Me (right) with a friend. Continue reading
एक्लै फुटबल हेर्नुको नमज्जा के भने ‘गोओओओओ….ल’ भनेर चिच्याउन नपाइने । सुन्ने कोही नभएपछि त्यसको के अर्थ ? आइभोरी कोस्ट र ब्राजिल भिड्दै थिए । फ्यावियानो र इलानोले तीन गोल ठोकेपछि खेल पूरै एकपक्षीय बनेकाले अरुचि जाग्दै थियो । रोमान्च थप्न अफ्रिकी टोलीले गोल फर्काउनैपर्छ भन्ने चाहना थियो । ड्रोग्बाले पनि एक हानिहाले । अनि ब्राजिलको परम्परागत समर्थक मैले टाइप गरेँ ट्विट्टरमा-GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!’ (इन्टरनेटमा ठूला रोमन अक्षरले चिच्याएको बुझाउँछ ।) त्यो ‘चिच्याहट’ तत्कालै ट्विट्टर र त्यसमार्फत फेसबुकका भँगालाहरूमा बग्दै सिद्धान्ततः लाखौं मानिसहरूका कम्प्युटर स्क्रृनमा देखापर्यो ।
फुटबल इतिहासमा हरेक विश्वकप कोशेढुङ्गा हुन्छ । करोडौं दर्शक उच्चाल्ने प्रदर्शन गर्ने खेलाडीहरूले एकअर्कालाई छक्याउँदै गोल गरेको या पेनाल्टी नछिराएको दृश्यबारे मानिसहरूले वर्षौं कुरा गर्छन् । यसपालीको विश्वकपचाहिँ ती सबै कुराबाहेक भुभुजेलाबाट चिनिने हो कि फेसबुक/ट्विट्टरबाट, म निश्चित भइसकेको छैन । भुभुजेला बजाउने दर्शकले पूरै रंगशालालाई एउटा ठूलो घार बनाइदिएका छन्, मानौं ती रिसाएका मौरी हुन् । उनीहरूको त्यो भुनभुनाहटले संसारभरिका थुप्रै दर्शकलाई दिक्क पारेको छ भने कतिपयले ‘त्यो अफ्रिकी फुटबल उत्साहको परम्परा’ भन्दै समर्थन गरेका छन् । रंगशालामा भुभुजेला प्रतिबन्ध गर्न फिफालाई अनुरोध गर्दै प्रतियोगिताको तेस्रो दिन मैले ट्विटेपछि बेलायतको योर्कमा बसेर वातावरण तथा राजनीतिमा पीएचडी भर्खरै सिध्याएका ललितपुरका महेश पौड्याल (twitter.com/mpoudyal)ले ट्विटे- ‘ओहो, मलाई भुभुजेला खुब मनपर्छ । खेल हेर्दा पृष्ठभूमिमा त्यो रमाइलो भुनभुनाहट ।’
धन्यवाद ट्विट्टर र फेसबुकजस्ता सामाजिक सञ्जाल साइट (साससा) हरूलाई जसले संसारलाई खुम्च्याएर यति सानो पारिदिएका छन्, मानौं योर्क, दिल्ली र काठमाडौंका वासिन्दा एउटै कोठामा गफिँदै विश्वकप हेरिरहेका छन् । तिनले एकै समयमा एउटै बल (एडिडास कम्पनीले बनाएको ‘जाबुलानी’), एउटै खेलाडी (मानौं मेस्सी) र एउटै आवाज (भुभुजेला) देखिरहेका/सुनिरहेका हुन्छन् । तिनका प्रतिक्रियाहरू एउटै ठाउँ (ट्विट्टर र फेसबुकका भँगालो) मा आइरहेका हुन्छन् ।
‘नेपालेइडियट’ (twitter.com/nepaleeidiot) उपनामका नेपाली युवक भारतको कुनै सहरमा काम गर्छन्, विश्वकपका हरेकजसो म्याच हेर्छन् र तत्क्षण लागेको कुरा ट्विट्छन् । ‘नेपालबाट टाढा आफ्नो कोठामा एक्लै (फुटबल हेर्दा लागेका कुरा साझेदारी गर्न पाएकोमा) ट्विट्टरलाई धन्यवाद’, उनले एकदिन ट्विटे ।
वेब २.० भनिने अन्तरक्रियात्मक इन्टरनेटको जमानामा भएको यो पहिलो विश्वकप हो । १९९० को दशकको अन्त्यतिर चित्रसहितको इन्टरनेट ब्राउजिङ आए पनि २००० सम्म काठमाडौंमा त्यो केही अफिस या साइबर क्याफेमै सीमित भयो । २००२ को विश्वकपबारे नेपालीहरूले इमेलमा आफ्ना भावना साटे । २००६ मा फेसबुक अमेरिकामै सीमित थियो- कलेजमा । ट्विट्टर सुरु भएकै थिएन । धेरैजसो नेपाली तन्नेरी माइस्पेस र हाइफाइभमा हुन्थ्ये, तर अहिलेजस्तो विश्वव्यापी चाप साससाहरूमा थिएन ।
अहिले सबैजसो साससाले फुटबल केन्दि्रत पृष्ठ बनाएका छन्, प्रशंसकहरूलाई आफूमा बाँधिराख्न । ट्विट्टरको चित्ताकर्षक विश्वकप पेजमा खेल हुँदै गर्दा दर्शकले तत्क्षण गरेका ट्विटहरू त्यहाँ सलल बग्छन् । ट्विटहरूको त्यो बहावमा खेलप्रति संसारको प्रतिक्रिया झल्किन्छ । Continue reading
It feels like everybody in the world is in one room watching the match together.
Every World Cup tournament is a watershed in the history of football. With the stunning display of human emotions and talents, the game rejuvenates millions of people around the world. Those who watch the games will talk about that magical goal by that particular superstar for months and years. Those goals or missed chances, in many ways, define that particular World Cup. I am not sure, as of now, what will define the 2010 edition: vuvuzela or Twitter. These are the two things whose association with the game evokes contrasting feelings in me. I dislike the “stadium horn” as much as I like the express-in-140-characters social networking site.
Vuvuzela-blowing spectators are like angry bees and wasps that make the World Cup stadium a giant hive. Some people have liked the trumpet that is apparently an integral part of South African football tradition. Many others have complained that the continuous buzz has ruined their viewing experience. On the third day of the tournament, unable to hold my frustration, I posted my displeasure on Twitter in all caps (the Internet equivalent of screaming): “#FIFA, WILL YOU PLEASE BAN THIS ANNOYING #VUVUZELAINSIDE THE STADIUM RIGHT NOW?”
My friend Mahesh Poudyal (@mpoudyal) who, according to his Twitter bio, is a “good listener, avid reader, lazy writer, enthusiastic photographer, technology/gadget freak, who is also trying to finish a phd in environment and politics” quickly tweeted back from York, UK: “oh, i love #vuvuzelas, great background buzz while i watch the match :)”
This and many other electronic conversations that I have had with many of my friends and strangers on Twitter have greatly enriched my World Cup experience like never before. This is the first World Cup that I am watching all alone in my quiet apartment in New Delhi. This is also the first World Cup to have happened in the age of web 2.0 which turns the whole world into a huge room. Viewers’ reactions on breathtaking dribbling and their excitement created by a stunning goal are shared not just among a handful of persons in a closed room. They are instantly shared with the world, thanks to the wild popularity of sites like Twitter and Facebook.
I started watching the World Cup since 1990. I was in the hostel of a school in Kathmandu, grounded by viral fever yet rejuvenated by football fever, and the world seemed impossibly too big to be connected by a network of computers. I was in another hostel of a different school in the Valley during the 1994 tournament. Two of my classmates and I used to sneak out of the hostel to enjoy the midnight matches at home. The Internet was still far away. By the 1998 tournament, the expensive graphical browsing had arrived at a handful cyber cafés and offices in Kathmandu, but not in individual rooms of the general population. I shared my 2002 World Cup excitement by email, downloaded many photos of my favourite players and match schedules from web sites, and posted comments on some online discussion boards. Four years later, I posted my first World Cup entry (blog) on my interactive web site.
Still, viewing was largely done in a group of friends with occasional collective screams of “gooooooal” or the one that ends in disappointment like “gooooooal… bhayena!” While watching the match, we would talk endlessly about the players’ performance on the field, bet over the result and take sides vehemently to the extent that a certain level of tension and anxiety was created. On most of those occasions, the gatherings of friends were more entertaining than the game itself. Watching the game alone was unimaginable.
And here I am, in the solitude of my apartment, 1,000 km from home, doing that “unimaginable” this year. It would have been impossible for me to watch the games alone had there not been the Internet. With Twitter right in my hand (iPhone) or on my lap (Dell Vostro), the urge to share my excitement is never compromised. In fact, I feel, the sharing over Twitter (or the web in general) is much more informative and effective thanks to the lethal combination of Google, YouTube and news and specialist web sites. Sharing on Twitter isn’t limited to collective screaming (all caps) and expressing your mundane views. It also involves data, expert opinions, video clips of Maradona’s “hand of god” goal and magazine articles.
“I am a traditional #bra supporter :D. sympathies 4 #prk :D” I tweeted just before the world number one team faced North Korea, the last in the ranking. Along with that thought, I also retweeted a link to a Time magazine article (http://bit.ly/aWcxXE) which was tweeted by @nahsrad with these words: “Go, North Korea!”
Reading our tweets that expressed our support for Brazil, @yowlanku from Kathmandu tweeted to me and @jwalanta: “you on #bra side too!! :)” Bra, by the way, is the FIFA abbreviation for team Brazil. Twitter, where everything needs to be said in short, has popularised the abbreviation by assigning a cute flag of the country alongside when a hash tag is prefixed.
On the other hand, sensing that I was not rooting for Asian teams like #prk , #kor or #jpn (meaning the two Koreas and Japan), @tajim tweeted to me: “there might be a reason for South not supporting North but we as Asian need to support all Asian Team…”
“I am more for underdogs and poor economies than for regionalism,” I tweeted back.
Then there is this @nepaleeidiot who tweets from somewhere in India about his impressions of the game that are enjoyable to read. Browsing the tweets that are posted as the game is being played in South Africa is quite an experience. One can see how the world is talking while the players are playing.
All these “twitteractions” with friends and strangers about the games during the matches have made me feel that I am no more alone in the room. It feels like the people of the whole world, from York to Delhi to Kathmandu, are in a single room and watching the match together. Everyone sees the same ball, feels the pain experienced by the same injured player and hears the same noise (argh, vuvuzela).
This article first appeared on the op-ed page of today’s Kathmandu Post