Mariner’s Base Camp, as I see it — Debadrita Dey

Mariners’ Base Camp unveiled themselves at a time when the thing called “Gallery Culture” had no such existence. I have been a Mariner ever since but dad,the person from whom I have inherited this zeal only took me to the matches after I was a bit grown up because of this unhealthy culture which was quite uncomfortable for a girl to be in. I started my journey as a football fan in the gallery in the year 2015. Honestly, the number of girls seen to be cheering at the gallery were just a handful and it felt rather weird to be in such a ‘girl-less’ environment. But it was the immense passion and love for my team which made me want to be in the gallery every single game day.

At that time quiet a few fans club existed but none of them were an ‘Ultras group’. In fact none other than only a handful of people had an idea about the whole Ultras thing.
 With the initiatives taken by MBC, the gallery has become an eye candy and is equally interesting and beautiful to watch as the beautiful football on the field. Giant tifo s, breathtaking pyro shows and charging chanting instead of the foul mouthed words have improvised the gallery culture quite a lot. It would be wrong to say that the filthy culture has been completely eradicated but it has surely improved a lot. The constant cursing has been replaced by songs to boost up the team. These songs also work like magic to dissipate the tension of the gallery when the match conditions are not in our favour.
It’s always a memorable experience to a part of MBC’s activities. Holding the smoke bomb high up and chanting along with the crowd fills me immediate happiness as I know that I am involved in something that will directly affect my team in a positive way. At that moment I can relate myself with one of those Ultras thousands of miles away from me maybe at the stands of Galatasaray, Lazio, River Plate et cetera.
MBC has set up a new benchmark for the others to follow . Innovative and fresh Tifo ideas like religious harmony, saluting the armed forces in the match with Indian Navy are few among the others. MBC is also the only Ultra Group in India to display a 100 ft Indian National Flag.
We often in foreign countries have heard or seen a match stopping midway because of the smoke of the smoke and Pyro shows reducing the visibility. That always used to amaze me. A similar thing happened in the 2018 Calcutta League Match where for the first time in India a match had to be stopped because of the reduced visibility from the smoke and Pyro shows. Mosaics are another wonder of this extraordinary gallery culture and feels great to be a part of. A small piece of cloth when held up in a planned way by a bunch of people can flabbergast everyone. The whole gallery lit up with mobile flashlights which look like twinkling stars is just electrifying to watch and be a part of.
 The Ultra activities have inspired me quite a lot and I love the concept of “No face, No Name”. That’s the reason why lately I have preferred putting up pictures on social media with my face covered in the Green and Maroon scarf.
The scene in the gallery now is quite different from what it was even a few years back. More number of girls are taking interest in footfall and are also coming to the gallery. I want more number of girls to heat up the stands and I am pretty sure that with this improved and more comfortable environment, the wave of gender equality will soon hit gallery and I will have more Lady Mariners as my companion to cheer with