If you need proof that Kolkata, the footballing hub of the country, is crazy about the sport, head towards the various localities which are festooned with giant banners, flexes, buntings, flags and cutouts of football legends and are the hub of community football viewing.
When You walk the streets of Kolkata which is in the grip of World Cup fever. For the Fifa World Cup 2018 in Russia, Shib Shankar Patra is one among thousands of die-hard Argentina fans in Kolkata and there’s nothing unusual about it. A die-hard Argentina fan in India has painted his house in the team’s blue and white colours ahead of the football World Cup, saying his love for Lionel Messi’s men knows no bounds.
But then die-hard fans at times can be weird too, and 53-year-old Patra has that weird streak in him. Trying to garner enough savings from his modest earnings through a tea stall, Patra harboured a dream — to watch ‘The Albiceleste’ live from the stands in Russia.
But when a Kolkata-based travel agent informed him that his savings — a princely amount of Rs 60,000 ($900) is not enough to fund his World Cup trip (travel agent gave him a budget of Rs 150,000), he decided to do the next best thing –paint his entire three-storied building in Argentina colours.