Shillong: From young to old, all in the mountainous state of Meghalaya only talk about the ongoing World Cup football and which team will reign supreme in Brazil.
The passion of the once-in-four years FIFA World Cup has taken this landlocked football-crazy state by storm. From school-going children to politicians, everybody talks about their football heroes who are now battling it out in 12 stadia across the South American nation.
Some parts of Shillong even look a little like Brazil, with flags of various countries playing in the World Cup adorning shops and vehicles.
But, the fervour for the World Cup is stronger in villages, where people are buying inverters and generators to ensure that they do not miss any match.
People from remote places in Jaintia Hills district and the India-Bangladesh border areas of Dawki and Borsora in West Khasi Hills district do not mind coming all the way to Shillong, the state capital, to invest a tidy sum and purchase a generator.
"We are facing frequent shutdown in our areas. To ensure that we don`t miss watching the World Cup, we have no option but to buy a generator," said Kyrshan Lyngdoh of Borsosa village, bordering Bangladesh.
Although, there will be no holidays for students, most of the school and college students say they won`t miss to tune in to television sets to watch the World Cup matches."
"So far, I have not missed a single game. I hope, I will be able to watch all the games," said Wandame Chyne, a Class 12 student here.
So also is 55-year-old Bankitlang Sunn, a local cab driver who bought a new television set to watch the World Cup football.
"Whatever money that I have saved since last year, I have bought a new television set only to watch the World Cup since football is a poor`s man game," Sunn said.
Not only students, but even politicians like Meghalaya`s National People`s Party legislator James K. Sangma said: "World Cup is an event that I am always eagerly looking forward too. The fact that World Cup is being hosted by Brazil which is a country as colourful as it can get is adding to the attraction."
"I am sure many of fellow colleagues would be gluing to their television to witness the beauty of this popular sports," he added.
However, Home Minister Roshan Warjri said she missed most of the matches due to her official work, but managed to watch some of the matches.
"I watched the Brazil-Chile match and I`ll try not to miss the quarter-final matches," she said, refusing to identify the nation she is supporting in the ongoing the World Cup.
I-League side Shillong Lajong FC owner Larsing Ming Sawyan, who is the other co-owner of the Indian Super League team North East United FC, said: "I am just enjoying the World Cup. I am not supporting any team but I have a soft corner for Lionel Messi."
Editor of an English daily Highland Post, John Thabah agreed. "Though I usually miss the early matches as their timing coincides with the timing of my work, I make it sure that I do not miss the second match."
Jails in various districts of Meghalaya have been provided with TV sets to allow inmates watch the World Cup, a jail official said.
In Shillong, some hotels have installed LCD projectors to show live matches for guests in their bars.
"We have arranged LCD projectors for the guests so that they can relax and enjoy the match. But we could show only those matches telecast early like the 9.30 p.m. ones," Hotel Centre Point general manager Munin Deka said,.
He added that extra zing is Pittbul`s "We Are One (Ole Ola)" that has both the young and old tapping their feet to.