Jayanta Burman and family from Balurghat, South Dinajpur, take a break from sightseeing on the sidelines of the Left rally on Sunday. (Bishwarup Dutta)
Victoria Memorial: check
Horse ride: check
Uday Burman, 6, wanted to see aeroplanes fly. “When will we visit the airport? Is it far from here?” he asked his father repeatedly, almost like a remix on loop.
Biman Bose was talking up a storm on the Maidan, but the Burmans from Balurghat — professed Left Front supporters — would rather have been at the “Biman Bandar (airport)”.
Jayanta Burman didn’t know how to get to the airport quickly, but kept reassuring his younger son that they would. “My family had been asking me to bring them to Calcutta for a long time. I thought why not use this occasion to take them around,” the 35-year-old, who runs a flex printing business, said.
So while Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Co presided over a “jana tsunami (tsunami of people)” on the Maidan, the Burmans chose to spend Sunday watching trapeze artists, enjoying a stroll and a snack on the manicured lawns of Victoria Memorial and taking a ride down Queensway on a horse-drawn carriage.
The family had boarded a crowded train at Balurghat on Saturday night along with a large group of Brigade-bound Left supporters. They reached Sealdah at 7am. First up on the itinerary was a tour of Victoria with breakfast on the lawns — the Burmans were carrying food and snacks — followed by the ride on a horse-drawn buggy. After that, it was time for a circus show at Park Circus, followed by a biryani lunch.
Metro found Jayanta, wife Mala, 32, and sons Deep, 13, and Uday under the shade of a tree opposite Victoria Memorial at 2pm, a tad weary after their sightseeing spree. Oblivious to the passionate stirrings of the Left leaders blaring from loudspeakers tied to a tree nearby, the family was discussing where to head next.
While Jayanta had been to Calcutta a few times before, this was his wife and children’s maiden visit and they wanted to see as much of the city as possible. Under the large cane hats that their father had bought for them, the Burman boys sported a hint of a frown because there were places still to be covered.
“There is so much to do and see,” mother Mala said. “Chiriyakhanatao dekha holo na (We couldn’t visit the zoo either).”
As the Left leaders fired a barrage of allegations at Mamata Banerjee, Uday and Deep were target-shooting balloons 500 metres away, a compensatory gift from their father for not taking them to the airport.