Lara dutta : Wave your flag!

By Hindustan Times

New Delhi, July 6 -- Over the last few weeks the world has been gripped by football fever. Everyone has Waka Waka as their ring tone, everyone looks a little bleary eyed coming into work in the morning because they've been up catching the late night game on TV, the Oracle Octopus is an overnight rage, Paulo Coelho is totally dissing Mick Jaggers presence at the stadium on Twitter, everyone's Blackberry status is proudly flying a flag, Messi's lack of performance or lack of opportunity is the favourite talking point right now and basically everyone is down with this 'once in four years' malady called The World Cup!

I've been a keen follower of the World Cup ever since I was a teenager. Brazil has been a favourite to win every single time, I've never wavered. In those days, jerseys were hard to come by and expensive. I remember painting a white school sports shirt yellow and green one time with paints from my water colour box.

In 1998 I finally had the chance to attend my first World Cup final! France vs Brazil played out in Paris. Our tickets were from the French sponsor DANONE. I sat (with considerable risk to my life) in a sea of blue white and red with my face painted in yellow and green! I refused to bow down and I refused to stop bellowing every time the Brazilians got anywhere close to the goal post. I was almost lynched! Well, that game is history now and everyone knows how that ended, Zidanes two famous goals ended up clinching the title for France that year. I got hoisted on French shoulders for show of sheer gumption and got laughed at so hard by the jubilant French!

The next time round, I was living in New York and watched the Brazilians thrash the Germans on a huge screen on the top of a fabulous New York loft! There were 500 of us! Samba drums were being played, flags were flying high along with spirits, and the whole city was awake in the early hours of the morning to catch the game of the new Millennium. This time Brazil did not disappoint! 2-0 to the Brazilians! The party spilled out into the streets and by 8am New York City was one big street parade.

I was shooting for Bhagam Bhaag in 2006 during the next one. I remember landing at Heathrow airport in London, exactly 5 minutes after the English lost. The immigration queues took three hours to navigate because everyone was in such a foul mood! Italy beat the French and England celebrated!?

By the time you read this, I would have landed in Cape town and will be gearing up to head to the stadium for the Uruguay vs. Holland semi- final, and coming this Sunday, I'm betting on seeing the Germans play the Dutch in Jo'burg and if I can help it, I'll try to stay off the yellow and green paint!

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