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.
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.
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.
“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?”
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
MOODS & MOMENTS
Text: Anannya Sarkar (WO) & Nandini Ganguly (RC)
Pictures: B. Halder (NN) & Arnab Mondal (who absolutely refused to help with any of the clues!)