I’m not a big football fan, but when it comes to the World Cup, I get genuinely excited. I watch as many matches as I can, keep up with the scores, place friendly bets and cheer along with fellow viewers in the neighbourhood beer garden or vie for a place in the open air broadcasts in over-crowded street cafes. Like the 2 world cups before, I’ll be rooting for the English team and the German team. Sure, it’s not so nice to see one team being crushed 4-1 by the other, but for me it’s less about patriotism and much more about team spirit. I feel at home in Germany and part of this is being able to cheer wholeheartedly for the German team and can easily revel in the merriment felt by my German friends when the team has a win (albeit not the before mentioned 4-1 win) without in any way feeling disloyal to England.

For me, national pride is not a clear-cut thing. And I think this must be a feeling shared by any first- or second-generation migrant or even expat. I know so many second generation Indians in Britain who root for Murray at Wimbledon and avidly follow the English team on the football field or on the rugby pitch, but when the Indian cricket team bats up at Edgbaston – the Indian flag comes out. That’s why I can’t understand the discussions which question for example the loyalty and allegiance of national football players who have a mixed heritage. What does it mean when a player doesn’t sing the national anthem? To me, nothing. I can’t say that I have always felt comfortable in situations which have required me to sing ‚God save the Queen‘, but I looked on from across the Channel at the Jubilee celebrations and felt homesick. I take pride in being considered the expert on all things British by my colleagues, from royalty gossip to the London riots. Since moving to Germany, I am most often viewed more as an Indian than anything else and get asked questions on everything from the caste system in India to arranged marriages and travel tips.

Despite all of the influences on my
national identity, I carry one passport. But sometimes I feel as if I could carry three – from the country of my birth and of my parents and all its values, the country which brought me up and educated me, and the country of my husband and any children we may have together.  All these nations have a special meaning to me and I root for them all in different ways.

Whichever team you’ll be rooting for, happy watching!