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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Letters
Love you Eden, love you Dada

Dear Miss Eden,

Pity we get to meet only once a year nowadays. There was a time I would have the pleasure of your company for five days in a row as we peeled oranges, flipped open plastic water bottles and devoured my ma’s chutney and cheese sandwiches. I was just 14 when I fell in love with you for the first time 37 years ago. I remember every moment. First ball West Indies vs India, Sudhir Naik caught Murray bowled Andy Roberts.

Hold on a second, let’s get all this mushy nostalgia off the sight screen and (square) cut to the first Saturday in May. My favourite teenager chooses to wear a purple T-shirt; I’m in an all blue kurta. You are looking beautiful as ever in your usual lush green. It’s 3 o’clock we are in early; so let’s ask you who are you supporting today? Blue or Purple? Come on be a sport, tell me?

Stop being coy...okay, if you want to keep that a secret, never mind. Who would ever say you’ve been a perfect hostess to ‘flannelled fools’ for 75 years? I like your new make-up: corporate boxes, bay windows, and LCD runners on the boundary. Little wonder even the kids think you are beautiful.

Just before the match begins let me share with you why I am on the Blue side today. Without being immodest, I have played a bit of sport in my time. Sure, sport is about technique, skill and precision. But that’s only half the story. True sport is also about passion, hunger and emotion. I can’t explain this to my favourite teenager, because she will quickly retort: “Baba, let me tell you frankly, with Dada there was only emotion and emotion, but we weren’t winning. And now look where we are on the points’ table”. I don’t have an answer.

I have never met the iconic owner of the Purple team, but would really appreciate if you would pass on a message. Actually some unsolicited advice to further build what he already has — a good brand, good players, good packaging. His team needs a little soul. Because Calcutta is a city with a soul. Bring on Dada... NOT as a player. Call him coach, call him mentor, call him chief architect, or call him whatever he chooses to be called... or just call the team ‘Dada’s Kolkata Knight Riders’ (that’s a free marketing idea!).

Miss Eden, my dear, let me end by making an honest confession. When Dada trudged his weary way back to the dugout, caught for 36, there was a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. No it wasn’t for Team Blue. I am not a big IPL fan. It was for a fellow Calcuttan, a fellow Xaverian, a fellow quizmaster and, without doubt, the greatest sportsman from Bengal to have walked on your front lawn.

Love you Miss Eden. Love you Dada.

With every good wish,

DEREK O’BRIEN

 

For the big match I will wear...

lIn the run-up to the IPL-V match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Pune Warriors India on May 5, my head says “support the KKR” whereas my heart says “support the PWI”.

Though the KKR is far ahead of the PWI, the Eden Gardens would certainly be a divided house on May 5. This would not have been so, had Sourav Ganguly not been treated badly by the BCCI mandarins several years ago, and also by the KKR management.

John Buchanan, the KKR coach in IPL-III, took Sourav (then the KKR skipper) with him to a press meet in Calcutta in 2010 and announced that the KKR captaincy would be on rotation basis. This act of ousting Sourav from the team certainly outraged many Calcuttans.

But Sourav, who as the skipper and the leader lifted the Indian cricket team to a high in his time, did not utter a word in the press meet out of decency. I appreciate Sourav for his self-belief, determination, dedication, straightforwardness and fighting spirit. I am clear to my conscience to support Sourav on the D-Day.

I presume that purple jerseys will marginally prevail over the blue ones on May 5. As for myself, I would support Sourav, the leader of the PWI, and may the better team (on the day) win.

Ranesh Chandra Dey, Parnashree

 

I am excited about the KKR vs the PWI match. I will definitely wear the KKR’s purple jersey to support my favourite team. Wearing the jersey will give me a special feel. I am proud to be a part of our home team. With my jersey on, I hope to join other fans to cheer for the KKR.

Kiran Agarwal, Dum Dum Road

 

It has to be purple. The reason is obvious: No matter who is there or not there in your home team, it’s still your home team.

I have been a big supporter of the KKR from the first year. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for the team for the last three years. But this year the KKR is doing well again and I hope the team will make us proud this time. I am very excited about the big match. My full support goes to my KKR.

Sumaiya Naaz

 

I will definitely wear the KKR jersey for the big match. Though I was supporting the PWI from Day 1, their defeats in a row have forced me to change my mind. I love Dada but I love supporting the winning team more.

Averi Neogi ,Moulali

 

I will definitely wear the KKR jersey because I support my home team. Calcuttans who support Pune are doing so for Dada. They need to understand that it is a game of 11 consistent players and not just sentiments.

Uddipto Kundu

 

The crowd at the Eden will be in a 60-40 ratio. Sixty per cent will be there shouting for Sourav. They are emotional people who just love Dada and can’t think of cricket without him. The rest will be supporting the KKR.

Arka Mukherjee

 

For the big match, I will wear the KKR jersey and cheer for it throughout the match. For me my city comes first, the KKR comes before Dada. Given Gautam Gambhir’s current form, I strongly hope that the KKR gives us reason to celebrate! Let us prove that Calcutta is and will continue to be the best!

Eshita Dey, Dum Dum

 

Taxi trauma

The high court’s direction to the state administration to take stern action against taxi owners who had not applied for tamper-proof meters with built-in printers is certainly praiseworthy (Taxis can’t ply without printer, March 31). But is compulsory installation of meters with printers an adequate step to rein in the unscrupulous taxi owners and drivers?

Recently, I took a taxi to Esplanade. It was equipped with a meter with printer. On asking for the bill after completion of the journey, the cab driver nonchalantly informed me that the printer was not working! I am sure many taxis are boldly roaming on the streets with such “non-functioning” printers!

Thus the job of the judiciary and the administration does not end with ensuring installation of meters in taxis. The cops should randomly check taxis. If not, then either the taxi should be confiscated or a heavy penalty needs to be imposed on the owner. Else, the taxi owners and drivers, even after obeying the court order, will continue to have a field day.

Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur

 

The way cops prefer to look away while cabbies flout norms, I doubt if the court order will serve any purpose.

Ayan Sarkar

Passport peeve

I had applied for the renewal of passport in the name of Alka Agarwal (file No. B036527) on October 17 but we are yet to receive the passport. I believe the working system at the passport office system has totally collapsed. Otherwise, how can there be such delay in just renewing a passport?

Rajendra Kumar Agarwal

 

Kudos to Metro for highlighting people’s ordeal at the hands of Passport Seva Kendra officials.

I have been trying to get an online appointment for renewal of my passport for the last four months. I have been logging in well before the opening time (4pm) of appointment. However, the site www.passportindia.gov.in starts responding after 4.05pm with the message that all appointments have been taken. I was fortunate to reach the appointment page a couple of times but when I opted for an available slot, a message appeared saying the slot had already been booked.

I wonder why officials of the Passport Seva Kendra are insensitive to this issue.

J. Jha

 

We had applied online for the renewal of my son’s passport in November but have not received it yet. The status message on the website reads “gone for police verification”. I have sent them repeated emails but not a single one has been replied to.

R. Faizullabhoy


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