History hunt on wheels

Team t2 goes full throttle at The Telegraph Huntage 7 

A fleet of 116 cars. A route covering 70km. Lots of clue sheets with six spots on each. A bunch of road-happy, city-wise heritage enthusiasts. National Insurance presents Ecospace Business Park The Telegraph Huntage 7 rolled out on a Sunday morning — February 25 — from Ecospace New Town, zipping around town and racing against time to crack the clues on the sheets and reach the landmarks. Two t2 girls joined the other Huntage enthusiasts and gave a run for their fuel at Calcutta’s favourite treasure hunt on wheels. Here’s a blow-by-blow account. 


The answer: Putiram
Clue 1: Bhuri Bhoj (think lot of food!)  Clue 2: A college equal on all four sides
Hits & misses: “It has to be College Square!”
“Isn’t bhuri bhoj hinting at a food stop in College Square?” 
“There’s one Bhuri Bhoj in Kalikapur!”
“Should be Coffee House, since it’s running through generations.”
“If not, check out other eateries like Putiram and Kalika.”
“And Putiram it is!”


The answer: Butto Kristo Paul
Clue 1:  Beauty market  Clue 2: Appointed by Prince of Wales
Hits & misses: “Is ‘beauty market’ even a place?”
“My cousin says ‘beauty market’ must be Sovabazar. Umm... makes sense.”
“This is going to be the most difficult one!”
“There’s a Red Cross on the clue sheet. Can it be a hospital or a medical shop?”
“Let’s google the keywords... Eureka! Butto Kristo Paul is the answer!”
The answer: Mohammedan Sporting Club
Clue 1: (66)(2)(6)(33)(3)(444)(66) (.    )(TUV) (WXYZ) (.    )
Clue 2: Black Panthers  Clue 3: AINAMD
Hits & misses: “Looks like a logical reasoning question!”
“Is Black Panthers referring to the movie or the socialist party?”
“Bingo! AINAMD is an anagram for Maidan... it has to be a sporting club.”
“Isn’t Mohammedan Sporting Club also referred to as Black Panthers?”


The answer: The Agri-Horticultural Society of India
Clue 1: 24 acres
Clue 2: Father — Modern lakshya
Hits & misses: “What’s 24 acres in Hindi, man? Chabbeese zameen ?”
“Something with lakshya ... is there any archery institute on a 24-acre plot?”
“What about the ‘father’ bit in the clue?” “Isn’t the horticulture garden 
24-acres?” “Yes, yes... it was founded by William Carrey, the father of modern missions.”
“Got it!”


The answer: Scottish Cemetery
Clue 1: E_R_P_A_/_E_/L_G_T/_U_R_E
Clue 2: Terrier  Clue 3: K(-10)(+17)(-17)(+24)(-24) Road
Hits & misses: “Another logical reasoning?”
“Cracked the third clue... it’s Karaya Road.”
“Ok. Is ‘terrier’ referring to ‘Scottish terrier’?”
“It must be the Scottish Cemetery on Karaya Road. Go, go!!” 

8 hours to go for the Huntage 7 flag-off

1.15am. “I have raided my fridge and packed all the chocolates I found.” 

1.20am. “And since none of us have a power bank, I am packing my laptop to keep our phones alive.” 

2.20am. “Why aren’t my messages getting delivered to you? Hope it’s because you’re asleep. I am awake like an owl.”

The morning of The Telegraph Huntage 7 starts off with the Well-stocked One (WO) sending out frenzied messages in the dead of the night to the Reluctant Captain (RC), in complete disregard of the alarm set to go off at 6am. 

The Huntage group created on WhatsApp only a few hours ago is ominously silent — it’s just WO and RC waving the Team t2 flag this year (a third member was hijacked by her family for a week-long beach vacay, and the fourth came down with flu). A t2 photographer was roped in at the last minute, despite his protests, for his knowledge of the city’s lanes and bylanes [that’s our Noble Navigator, NN,  who’s better than Google Maps]. Both WO and RC know how to drive a car but a Veteran t2 Huntage Member (VHM), very mistrustful of their skills, had requested the services of an office car and got us a Designated Driver (DD). 

7am. On way to Ecospace 

Somewhere between Beleghata, where we picked up NN, and Ecospace, we brief DD about what we are up to so early on a Sunday morning. His reply: “Magar is sab ka point kya hai, madam?” RC and WO, who have not seen a sun rise in many years, have a feeling he might actually be right and flop down in the backseat sulking, while NN plans to take a nap in the front seat once the clue sheets are handed out. 

9am. Ecospace 

Time for the Huntage captains’ briefing. RC has suddenly got cold feet and is pushed into it by the rest. Back in the car, VHM is on the line, screaming: “It’s 9am! Where are the clues?!” With that the sleepy Huntage WhatsApp group springs to life for back-end support. 

At 9.14am, the Team t2 Swift Dzire is flagged off, armed with a clue sheet. RC quickly takes some snaps of the clue sheet and posts on the WhatsApp group. NN chucks his idea of going to sleep and sits up straight, ready for battle. 

In half an hour, DD has warmed to the idea of a Lewis Hamilton-like race by now and steps on the accelerator. The team is headed to Spot 1 — College Square. RC has started working on Spot 2, while WO fires up her laptop, pops a Lindt into her mouth and starts googling the clues for Spot 3.

“This looks tricky and mathematical. I am calling my friend who got more than 90 per cent in his CAT,” says WO. 
RC starts bombarding her many cousins — spread across the globe and living in different time zones — with images of the clue sheet on WhatsApp. NN has already jumped to the Spot 6 clues for some unknown reason. 

10am. Near College Square 

RC: “Beauty Market means Sovabazar!” 

NN: “Spot 6 clues surely refer to a number plate.” 

WO (Barking into her phone): “Wake up! I don’t care how sleepy you are. Solve this equation right now.” 

DD: “Lekin jana kahan hai?”

11am. Racing past the Maidan 

With the first three clues cracked and stickers earned, the team decides to take a go at not just completing the trail but also finishing it by 12.45pm — their appointed finish-time. 

But of course it isn’t as easy as it looks. They have to work on the three tie-breaker questions as well, being aired on 91.9 Friends FM. RC, sleep-deprived and under too much stress already, furiously scribbles down each of their names — instead of the answers — on the clue sheet. 

The tie-breaker turns out to be one tough nut to crack — a shipwreck in the Hooghly in 1887.... The Huntage WhatsApp group starts buzzing again with some confusing options. 
“It’s Arcot.” 
“Or Sir John Lawrence.” 
“Which one exactly?”
“Take your pick.”
“Linlithgow!” exclaims NN, who has done a great job of steering us through all the shortcuts till now, looking up from his phone. He has found a shipwreck near San Francisco in some obscure journal on Google. 
“It can’t be. We are looking for something that happened in the Hooghly,” WO replies, with an eyeroll. 
“Na, eta Linlithgow-i hobe,” NN insists. WO, exasperated, turns to RC for help and stuffs her face with some more chocolate to relieve stress. 

Noon. Karaya Road

All six clues solved, task done and two of the three tie-breaker questions answered, Team t2 is zipping back to Ecospace to set a record time. 

DD snaps into beast mode and keeps asking every two seconds: “Kitna time baki hai?” 

12.36pm. Ecospace 

The finish line is reached with nine minutes to spare, without having taken a lifeline and still left with a good number of chocolates to polish off. Team t2’s best record at Huntage till now!

The Other huntage spots
1. Sister Nivedita’s house
2. Sabarna Sangrahashala
3. Sabarna Roy Choudhury Atchala
4. Manackjee Rustomjee Dharamshala for Parsitravellers
5. C.S.P.C.
A Animal Hospital
6. Kolkata Mounted Police
7. Smaranika Tram Museum
8. Bhowanipore Cemetery
9. National Library
10. Murshidabad House
11. Boat Museum, Ambedkar Bhawan


The Team t2 clue sheet at the end of the race. All spots covered and stamped. #SuperProud

The tie-breaker questions

1. Which Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) employee was part of the Mohun Bagan IFA Shield winning team just over a century ago?

2. Mullick Ghat contains a memorial plaque of pilgrims who died in a shipwreck in Hooghly River in 1887. Name the ship.

3. Which Metro station houses a small window displaying artefacts found during the metro rail construction dig?

Know the answers? Tell us at t2@abp.in


(From left) Team Xquizit comprising Aanton Mookherjee, Soaham Chakraborty, Samrat Sengupta, Tirtha Tanay Mondal and Ritwik Bhattacharya with their winning car no. 97. “We have been participating for the past four years and it’s great to win. We are a bunch of quiz and heritage buffs and so didn’t really need Google to win this. Huntage is like the Wimbledon of all treasure hunts and we love participating in it,” said proud captain Samrat, a marketing professional. 
Huntage veterans Calcutta Quadrangle — (l-r) Subhabrata Pramanick, Abhijit Das, Souvik Kayal, Soham Chandra and Ayan Bhattacharya — came second. “This is our fifth time in Huntage . In fact, we had come first in 2015. Of all the treasure hunts that we take part in, Huntage is the most challenging. It’s all about how well you know your city. We are happy that we managed to secure a spot in the top three for the second time,” said Abhijit (second from left), a finance professional.
Debutant team Showbiz — (l-r) Gourav More, Ashish Jhunjhunwala, Poulomee Shaw and Manisha Agrawal — receive the third prize from C. Sridevi, chief manager, National Insurance. “We participated for the first time and came third. It couldn’t have been better! The clues were so difficult to crack. We lost about an hour and a half trying to find the first spot. But all thanks to teamwork, we managed to find all the spots,” said Poulomee (second from right), a clinical psychologist.


Get set, vroom... armed with clue sheets (different spots for different teams), the cars were flagged off in batches of 10. 
Time to get set. Participants prep their cars before the race. Each team was given a set of stickers and a set of instructions that they had to follow before, after and during the race. A total of 116 teams took part in Huntage this year.
What do you do as soon as you get hold of the clue sheet? Take a picture and WhatsApp it to friends and family of course!
Five former colleagues came together to form Quinters, who participated in Huntage for the first time for their love for driving. “We took turns to drive and the heritage angle of the event excited us,” said Arindam Ghosh (first from left), the team captain. The rookies earned their stripes by solving five of the clues. “We loved the experience and have already started discussing how not to repeat our mistakes next year,” added the captain. 
Baffled by the clue sheet? Welcome to Huntage! The most interesting part about this treasure hunt is this piece of colourful paper. Always twisted.
Pirates captain Sumit Agarwal (right in second row), sporting their team colour blue, was far from blue when we caught up with him after the event. “Though we cracked only three clues, we had so much fun! My team comprised friends and family and we are revving to take part next year as well,” said the entrepreneur. 
t2 spotted Shahanshah Mirza (left), the great great grandson of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, as part of team Heritage Warriors, led by captain Arijit Sen (right). “It is nice to see that even after seven years, there are so many new gems in the city that we didn’t know about. Of course we are disappointed as we managed to crack all the clues but got stuck at one of the tie-breakers. But we had a great time!” said Arijit. 
The all-women Pink Power was captained by Dilbar Vora who put together the team after having followed Huntage for the past few years. “I got together my sisters-in-law and a friend, and our husbands thought we were crazy. But our family was our back-end support, helping us solve clues over the phone,” said Dilbar, the lady behind the wheel. Pink Power powered their way to the finish line after solving five of the six clues. 

Text: Anannya Sarkar (WO) & Nandini Ganguly (RC)
Pictures: B. Halder (NN) & Arnab Mondal (who absolutely refused to help with any of the clues!) 


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