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Since 1st March, 1999
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Fun & games of battle cry, bunkers & bullets
- College-goers, young professionals gear up to aim and shoot as Xtreme Paintball comes to town

On a vacant plot close to IIM Calcutta, two men in military gear load their guns, tighten their chest guards, dive behind bunkers, take aim and shoot.

Don’t press the panic button, just play the (war) game.

For, Xtreme Paintball, a craze in Bangalore and Hyderabad, is here. The combat game priced at Rs 400, with armoured teams shooting each other with paint bullets, has set up battlefield at 19 Diamond Harbour Road.

Mukti Mittal, 23, who had come from Salt Lake to play Paintball, defines the thrill: “The fear factor is the main thing and the feeling starts as soon as you start dressing up. I felt like I was actually going to battle. And once you get hit, you’re like, I have to get back and shoot someone from the opponent’s team. Plus, it’s a great way to take your frustration out on someone you don’t like!”

The extreme adventure game has been brought to town by Shantanu Saharia, who owns the Savin Kingdom amusement park in Siliguri. “We had a vacant plot and we thought why not utilise it for the game as a stop-gap move.” But with warriors queuing up at the bright yellow gates, a permanent playground for Paintball is on the cards. “Our weekends are full, just by word of mouth. Most of the players are college-goers or working professionals under the age of 35,” says Saharia.

Metro encountered two groups of friends, armed and dangerous. “Calcutta needs new stuff. There’s nothing to do except watch movies, play games on the PlayStation or the PC, or eat out. The best part is that Paintball is an active game,” feels Advay Jhunjhunwala, 22.

Trigger-happy Rishi Jain adds: “The main fun lies in the thrill and the strategy which is why a lot of corporates play paintball as a team-building activity. Plus, once you start shooting you just want to keep on playing!”

But no pain, no game. The players confess that the paint bullets — made of biodegradable vegetable oil — sting when they hit unguarded areas. “It’s a small sting but that’s what makes it extreme adventure,” says Arjun Bahri, 23.

So, load your marker and let it rip.

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