Soccer fan brings Argentina to Bengal
When Bengal’s soccer lovers are divided into supporters of two countries, Argentina and Brazil, Patra’s house on the northern outskirts of Kolkata has become a place to visit for blue-white fans.
Published: 01st December 2022 09:56 AM | Last Updated: 01st December 2022 09:56 AM | A+A A-
KOLKATA: Tea seller and diehard fan of Argentina, Shib Shankar Patra could not fulfil his dream of watching the FIFA World Cup 2018 live from the stand in Russia because of a fund crunch. He decided to do the next best thing—paint his entire ancestral three-storey house in Argentina’s blue and white colour with the savings that he garnered from his modest earnings.
When Bengal’s soccer lovers are divided into supporters of two countries, Argentina and Brazil, Patra’s house on the northern outskirts of Kolkata has become a place to visit for blue-white fans. “In 2018, I dreamt of watching Lionel Messi’s magic live from the stadium in Russia and managed to save Rs 60,000.
But the travel agent told me that I would have to arrange at least Rs 1.5, lakh which was not possible for me. Initially, I was disappointed. But later, I decided to spend the savings to bring the colour of Argentina to my locality by painting my house in blue and white, like Messi’s jersey,’’ said Patra. Patra’s house has got a fresh coat of paint before the FIFA World Cup 2022. The residece has become very popular in the locality.
The road leading up to Patra’s house, where his tea-stall is located on the ground floor, is dotted with Argentina flags with a giant one fluttering high, making its presence felt. Not only Patra, but his wife Swapna, daughter Neha and son Shubham are also equally crazy about Argentina and its fleet-footed genius.
The Patra family never misses celebrating Messi’s birthday. Clad in Argentina jerseys, they arrange a blue-white colour cake with a life-size cut out of the genius every year. “We do not miss a single match played by Messi representing Argentina. My children know everything about Messi,’’ said Swapna. The World Cup 1986, which was aired live on Doordarshan, turned people of Kolkata and rest of the state into ‘Maradona devotees’ and currently Messi is an extension of the former soccer star.
Not only the outside, but the inside look of it also reflects Patra’s love for football. All the walls are painted in Argentine colour, even the small place where idols of gods are kept. Each room has a life-size flex print poster of Messi.