A few Russians, a French, a Chinese and an Indian (me). It was a global house in the tiny kitchen of the hostel where I am staying in Moscow. We had all gathered there in front of the TV screen as Spain vs Iran match got underway. I was the only one rooting for Spain as the French for obvious reasons would not support La Roja and Russians were rooting for Iran because they wanted to avoid Spain as their opponents in the next round — it would be difficult for their side to beat the Spanish Armada. The Chinese man enjoyed his meal and our conversation.
The Russians did try to bribe me by offering a local drink, which they kept consuming like a tequila shot. But even after five such shots, I continued my support for Spain. And didn’t regret it even though the next morning, I woke up with a little sore throat. And I had woken up really early to catch a train for Nizhny Novgorod.
After the game, as I headed for my room, the Chinese man also walked with me. He had checked-in earlier in the evening and would be staying in the same room as mine. As usual, with the help of Google Translate, he asked me if I was okay to answer the question about Indo-China relationship.
“I am an ordinary man from China and I do feel bad about India. What do a common man in India think about our country?” read the translation.
What I understood at that point was that a common man really doesn’t care about the political propaganda and wouldn’t have any grudges against the common citizen of any country, should he meet them at some point.
I assured him that the common man in India felt the same way and the smile on his face, reflected on mine too. He extended me an invitation to visit him in Beijing.
As I write this, sitting in a Metro, I head towards Nizhny Novgorod. Leo Messi is calling once again after Cristiano Ronaldo delighted me the previous night.