The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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All action, all day

By the time this reaches your door, you should already be up and running. Giant billboards have been urging you to run for your city on Sunday, as CII presents the Airtel The Telegraph Kolkata Marathon, in association with the Athletic Coaches' Association of Bengal. Around 200 serious runners, including some Indian toppers from the recent Mumbai edition, are expected to go all the way ' 42.195 km to be precise ' to vie for the top spot and grab a slice of the Rs 6.25 lakh prize pie. For the ladies, there is the 10.2-km mini marathon and for everyone, there's the 'fun run' ' just 4.2 km of working sweat. Home-grown heroes of the sporting and cine kind are billed to boost the show, alongside the chief minister, the mayor, the top cop and diplomats. Flag-off and finish: Basketball Ground and Red Road. Flavour: fun for a cause called Calcutta.

From Sunday evening, cut to cricket. With the Mohali Test meandering to a mundane draw and Sachin Tendulkar missing his 35th century by a whisker, all eyes are now on Eden Gardens. The second Test doesn't take off till Wednesday, but the action starts on Sunday, when you can catch the first sneak peek of the teams, as they troop into Taj Bengal.

To help the cricket craze hit fever pitch, Taj has organised two special food festivals from Sunday. 'For years, both the teams have stayed with us,' says a spokesperson for the hotel. 'So the chefs know exactly what they like to eat ' the Indian team chooses Chinoiserie while the Pakistani players prefer to dine at Sonargaon.'

It's the Kebab and Beer Festival at Sonargaon with specialities like Zafrani Lobster and Shikampuri Kebab on offer beside Badami Aloo and Kabuli Tikki, for the gang in green. The Chinoiserie hosts a 2T festival of Tiger Prawns and Tofu with Chinese delicacies like Drunken Tiger Prawns and Baichai Tofu for the boys in blue.

The Alipore hotel is chock-a-block till next Sunday, with the cricket pitch topping every priority list. As Taj general manager Sanjay Sethi puts it: 'This series is about the people of two nations coming together to celebrate the spirit of neighbourhood.

'Nalban has been the nest of cultural activity since Friday, when Sananda editor Aparna Sen and daughter Konkona inaugurated the three-day carnival off the Bypass. Fireworks will fill the Sunday night sky at the grand finale from 8 pm, but the rest of the day will be no less vibrant with a host of events lined up from noon. The day starts with tambola, moving on to family quiz, followed by an Anjali Jewellers workshop and another by Cookme. Beauty workshops on mehndi, hair-braiding, hair-streaking, tattooing, bindi-painting and nail art are popular draws. Games like passing the parcel and musical chairs and some juggling and magic shows will keep the kids busy, while those in their teens can attend the guitar workshop or try their hand at darts and balloon shooting. The pace truly picks up with a celebrity antakshari (starring the likes of screen stars Pallavi Chatterjee, Tota Roy Chowdhury and Indrani Dutta), a fashion show and A Class Apart, an Indo-Western classical fusion session, starring Pandit Shantanu Bandopadhyay and Neel.

If you run out of steam after the morning marathon, the best place to perk up your spirits in the early evening (before you head for the debate that is), would be the Agri Horticultural Society of India. Drop in for the inauguration of the Videocon Rose Garden at 4.30 pm (provided you're armed with an invite), not just for a leisurely walk down the garden path but for a power-packed star trek.

The Society has lined up Team India captain Sourav Ganguly along with Bollywood bombshells Mallika Sherawat, Sonali Bendre, Yukta Mookhey and Mahima Chaudhuri. They will grace the Alipore greens, where over 1,400 roses will be displayed. 'We want to make the Society's garden one of the best in the country,' says Alka Bangur, president of the Society. That's later. For Sunday, the greens belong to the leggy lasses and the bare-dare brigade.

It promises to be a scorcher. Words are the weapons and with the two sides almost evenly representing the Congress and the BJP, the panel is poised to pack plenty of punches.

This year's edition of The Telegraph Calcutta Club National Debate, to be held at Calcutta Club, from 6.30 pm on Sunday evening, grapples with the topic of secularism and civil codes.

The motion: In the opinion of the house, to be truly secular, India needs a uniform civil code.

Speaking for the motion will be Arun Jaitley, Vasundhara Raje, Seshadri Chari and Narendra Modi. Arguing against it will be Salman Khurshid, Syed Shahabuddin, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Fali Nariman. The moderator is Dilip Padgaonkar.

Catch the volley of words flying back and forth between the big guns from the political and legal arenas as they thrash out ideologies on stage.

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