Lockdown diaries: Netflix, cooking and online games keep Soosairaj busy

Michael Soosairaj, who decided to spend a week in Kolkata before heading to his native place in Kanyakumari, is now stuck there indefinitely due to the country-wide lockdown.

Michael Soosairaj celebrates after scoring against Mumbai City FC.   -  ISL SPORTZPICS

Michael Soosairaj boarded a flight to Kolkata on March 15 in search of a much-needed break after a tiring football season. It was only the previous night that the midfielder had won the Indian Super League title with ATK, courtesy of a 3-1 win over Chennaiyin FC.

While the rest of the team had dispersed, Soosairaj has decided to spend a week in Kolkata before heading to his native place, Eraviputhenthurai village in Kanyakumari, to celebrate the title triumph with his family.

However, with the coronavirus spreading across the country at an alarming rate, one lockdown led to another and Soosairaj has been forced to remain confined to his Kolkata apartment.

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“I came to Kolkata on March 15th, the day after the ISL final. I stayed here for a week and was scheduled to leave on the 23rd. I was actually on the way to the airport when I got a message saying my flight was cancelled," he tells Sportstar.

He tried his luck once again when online ticketing portals opened up and booked a ticket for April 15, but his flight was cancelled once again owing to the extension of the lockdown. What was supposed to be a week-long trip has now become a month-long stay for the crafty midfielder.

Soosairaj, though, says he’s enjoying the time off. “It’s nice in a way because I am able to spend time with my family after so long. We play games online, like Ludo and Uno, so it keeps me going. It’s a little sad that I am here alone though,” he says, with a hint of disappointment in his voice.


Soosairaj (R) and his brother Regin pose with the Indian Super League trophy.   -  Instagram/Michael Soosairaj

The lockdown has also given him a chance to interact with fans and listen to their feedback, something he takes very seriously.

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“I use Instagram a lot and a lot of my friends and fans message me and advice me on how I should have played in certain situations. Some of the comments are like 'You should have done this in that situation, anna. Next time please do it' and I make it a point to respond to them. Some are very interesting; they offer me coach-like insights!” he says amidst laughs.

The 25-year-old used to share the three-bedroom house with his elder brother Michael Regin, who also plays for ATK and Alexander Romario Jesuraj, who plays for Mohun Bagan. While the house is now empty, he's managed to keep himself occupied with cooking, workouts and TV shows. 

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“I’ve learned how to make chicken curry, sambar, and fish curry along with dosas and chappathis,” he says proudly. “But I go up to the owner's house if I’m feeling lazy to cook (laughs),” he adds.

How about the eternal favourite, biryani? “Ah, I get it off Swiggy,” he admits.

Binging on the Last Kingdom show on Netflix, Soosairaj is sitting back and playing the waiting game at his residence in Kolkata, a stark contrast from his role on a football pitch.

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