TEAM SPIRIT: Fans line the railings in front of the giant screen at South City Mall on Thursday afternoon during the Australia innings. (Anindya Shankar Ray)
For a change, the colour code in Calcutta wasn’t red or green but blue.
As MSD’s men fought hard for a historic World Cup victory over Australia in Motera on Thursday, Metro tuned into the hush that had descended on the city, broken intermittently by a hurrah.
Where: On the stairs outside Music World on Park Street
What we saw: Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee and friends Joseph and Amit celebrating India’s victory with dollops of ice cream.
“Yuvraj is today’s hero. But credit should also go to Raina for the maturity he showed as a young player. It looked like India would lose when Dhoni almost threw away the match with a rash shot.”
Where: Writers’ Buildings
What we saw: Cricket was in the air but, alas, no television for most Writers’ employees. With the cellphone radio being their hotline to Motera, many were left battling broadcast downtime during crucial moments. “Kota wicket bollen, duto? Thik kore shunun, ekhunni ek dada bollen tinte pore gechhe (How many wickets did he say, two? Listen to the commentary properly, someone just said a third has fallen),” shouted an employee to his colleague, who was busy adjusting his earphones.
“We have requested our unions on several occasions to install some TVs for us but it seems nobody cares,” rued an employee of the library on the ground floor, tuned in to live commentary on a red cellphone with an antenna.
The ministers’ rooms have TVs but most of the occupants had either not turned up or left early.
| NO, THEY ARE NOT AT MOTERA: Chairs lined up for a photoshoot for MLAs that had to be cancelled because of the Speaker’s illness. Picture by Amit Datta
Where: The Trinamul office at 30B Harish Chatterjee Street
In the match: Michael Clarke facing Yuvraj Singh.
What we saw: A group of 10 Trinamul workers craning their necks to catch the match on the TV, sitting on a pedestal. Boss Mamata Banerjee was yet to emerge from her room. Half an hour later, when news arrived that Mamata was on her way, the TV was switched off. After she had settled inside her chamber, the front office got busy with India versus Australia once again.
Trinamul sources said Mamata, who usually keeps herself updated on sports, was too busy looking for a replacement for the Jorasanko candidate to be watching Thursday’s thriller. At The Telegraph National Debate last month, Mamata had asked former India captain and fellow panellist Rahul Dravid: “Tell me bhai (brother), can you play cricket without balls?”
What we saw: With business over by 2pm, MLAs had ample time to reach home or their offices to watch the match from the start. By 2.30pm, when R. Ashwin was marking his run-up for the first over of the match, the Assembly was a desolate place.
Of the few employees who remained, some entered the chambers of Congress leader Abu Hena, Opposition chief whip Ashok Das and Left Front chief whip Syed Mohammad Masih to catch the action on TV.
In the canteen, the TV was off for the first few overs “under official orders”. By the start of the ninth over, the clamour to switch on the TV forced the canteen in-charge to bow to popular demand. As soon as the screen lit up, Ashwin bowled Shane Watson to draw first blood for India.
Where: Civic body headquarters
What we saw: Mayor Sovan Chatterjee glued to the TV for the entire first half of the match. “Zaheer and Yuvraj were very good. Now, it is up to Sachin,” was the mayor’s analysis during the break between innings.
However, Chatterjee couldn’t see India bat as he had to step out for an election campaign. “I am tracking the match on my BlackBerry. Sachin should have carried on a little longer,” he told Metro over the phone with India 94 for two in 18.1 overs.
Where: CPM office at Santoshpur Trikon Park
What we saw: Polls can wait, the Cup is there to be won first. That was the mood in this small, red bastion on Thursday. “I have been following the match on the office TV from the start. Some comrades who were out painting walls came after the toss and haven’t budged since,” smiled Sourav Ghosh.
So how does the tension of a quarterfinal against the defending champ compare with the tension of a poll fight where the CPM is the defending champ? “This is about India’s pride, not of one party fighting another,” Ghosh said.
Where: South City Mall
What we saw: A near-stadium experience at the Prince Anwar Shah Road mall with fans lining the railings at all three levels and following the live action on the giant screen.
The cheer squad included a 20-strong group of Class XII students. Every time they cheered, people would rush out of the shops for a glimpse. “I arrived from Mumbai this morning, dumped my bags at my grandparents’ place and came here to watch the match with my friends. It’s more fun when so many people are watching together,” said teenager Ankita Banerjee.