The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM prefers poem to play

Calcutta, Nov. 25: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee would normally be expected to follow keenly the progress of any cricket match involving India at the Eden Gardens.

But today, the cricket-loving chief minister gave the game a miss, choosing to spend the afternoon and evening at Nandan, where he released a collection of Shakti Chattopadhyay’s poems.

After a busy morning at Writers’ Buildings, Bhattacharjee headed for Nandan and stayed there till almost 9 pm, by when the match was almost over.

So did Sourav Ganguly’s absence from the team keep the chief minister, like many others, away from Eden Gardens ' and even the TV set'

“I didn’t feel the enthusiasm to watch the match,” Bhattacharjee told The Telegraph. Asked why, he replied: “I have no explanation' I just did not feel like going. I enjoyed myself savouring Shakti Chattopadhyay’s poetry and watching a Portuguese film. Now I’m going home.”

As for any connection between Sourav’s absence from Eden and his'.

“Why bring in such controversies when there is Shakti Chattopadhyay’s poetry'” the chief minister quipped before striking up a light-hearted conversation with some Nandan officials.

He, however, turned to ask the score. Enlightened, he said: “So we are losing very badly'”

He said he had been impressed with the South African bowling and fielding while catching a glimpse of the game on TV in the afternoon.

While the chief minister submerged himself in poetry and cinema at Nandan, his security staff stole up to the first-floor TV to watch the match from time to time.

It was clear, though, that Bhattacharjee didn’t see a single ball being bowled in the evening.

seen and heard at the eden

• Rahul Dravid plays down the wrong line and has his stumps uprooted. “So your captain managed just 6 in 32 balls'” a bureaucrat smirks at a colleague in the
clubhouse. “Your captain would have done the same,” comes the reply

• Ninth wicket falls. A poster goes up in Block K: “Next down Chappell'”

• A man from Coimbatore in broken English: “People here are for South Africa. Not good, not good”

• Owner of a sari shop in Gariahat says during the lunch break: “It is a win-win situation for us — if India wins, well and good. If India loses, it’s Chappell’s defeat”

• A huge cheer goes up as Graeme Smith despatches Agarkar’s second ball to the ropes. “Taratari bari jabo (We can go home fast),” a youth from Bally tells his mate

• As the crowd clears out of the ground, a message appears on the electronic scoreboard: “Peace to the world”, with a dove in flight

• A beggar outside the ground has a better formula for establishing peace between Calcutta and Chappell: “Ek rupiya de ja bhaiya, Sourav captain ban jayega”

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