Shayak Ghosh (Member of Mariners’ Base Camp – The Ultras of the national club of India) : It was just another day of football. Wait, was it just another day? Or the day of reckoning? The day when the city is divided into half, the day when scores of football lovers flock the precincts of the Salt Lake Stadium in expectation of the bragging rights for the next quarter or so. It’s the derby I am talking about. The great Kolkata Derby. The 130-year behemoth in Mohun Bagan faces its closest neighbour in the I league. This day, all ties are forgotten, all friendships come to the Berlin Wall, all emotions culminate in a standstill. This is the day, We, mariners, as we fondly call ourselves as the fans of the national club set out to douse the fire that burns and acts as a logo of the East Bengal Club. As years have passed by, we have tried to reinvigorate the derby by sheer innovation and activities that, we are sure, will withstand the sands of time. We are the ultras of Mohun Bagan and with every breath we take, we wish to display our fanaticism in support for the club by gallery activities, giant banners and flash chants.
Now that the mood has been set and you know what to expect from this prose, lets come to the talk of the moment. Though the derby happened last Sunday the 19th of January 2020, in which Mohun Bagan trumped their rivals, we were ready with a TIFO that will amaze the living daylights out of not only our opponents but also every spectator in the ground. As the tagline of Godzilla would be “Size Does Matter”, thanks to the grey cells residing in our heads, we are fortunate enough to bamboozle the world with not only the size but the content of then same. Likewise, our team worked day and night, in the last 5 days up to the derby to create a unique TIFO which had an inkling of the ethos of the club mashed in a shout for the founding principles of our nation, i.e. India. However, much to our dismay we could not get the thing inside the premises. By the love of god, we were greeted by an eccentric old nincompoop at the gates in the form of a police inspector, though, honestly, he didn’t look like one. Our hopes were dashed and it felt like somebody took the cream of the cake as we had to leave the TIFO outside the stadium and watch the match in a sense of the prevailing doom. I guess our players understood the pall of gloom and gifted us with the awesome result, which, by now is clearly etched in the hearts of fans worldwide. Let me now take the serene opportunity to tell you all a tale of hope and despair, an array of feelings waiting to be burst out, yet completely subdued due to fear of judicial backlash.
On Derby day (let’s call it that for ease of understanding), our boys had reached the gates about 3 hours before the match in the hope to get the TIFO ready to be unfurled in the stands. Sadly, they met the real impediment at the first go. The Inspector in charge, Somdeb Banerjee, of the Bidhan Nagar Commisionerate, a pot-bellied, bald, corrupt from his looks stood guard at gate number 1. He asked about the content and then remarked that the TIFO contained controversial details and therefore cannot be permitted to enter the premises. The fun started here. The police have always been shown in bad light for all these years in films in all the states. Yes, there are the Chulbul Pandeys and Singhams, but we were stuck with this uncouth, foul mouthed lout who not only didn’t know the decorum to talk to fans but also was extremely ignorant and jingoistic. We had repeatedly asked him with folded hands as to the real reason why the TIFO wasn’t allowed to which he threatened to beat us up with batons and teach us our rightful place in the society. Yours truly had asked whether he can roll out such a demeanour, when they are merely public servants, but, oh hell, I was asked to not act as a hero (I guess he doesn’t know heroes sing and dance too, never mind) and run away otherwise my life and career would be ruined. He was actually reprising his role from the international match between India and Bangladesh wherein he had harangued the fans of the Indian National Football Team including the Blue Pilgrims and later released them. Not on bail. But on hard cash. Not only was this man or creature, whatever you may call him, reminiscent of the corrupted morons that they show in theatre, but also exhibited the traits of a proverbial asshole whose brain was stuck in the quagmires of debauchery and incompetence. And…I should tell you one more thing, this loudmouth actually blabbered about religious discrimination of all things in the TIFO.
I would request you all to catch a glimpse of the TIFO on 9th February at Kalyani when we finally get to unfurl the pride that is rightfully ours and tell us what discrimination we are showering on the mass. It is prudent to comment that Mr, Srinjoy Bose, honourable General Secretary of Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, tried his best by even providing us with an emissary to get the banner inside Salt Lake Stadium but to no avail. That wretched piece of shit (I finally breath freedom) stopped our banners, dampened our moods, even didn’t let us follow the process of escalation at the site. But he may have not realised that we ultras are fanatics and we believe in extremism (check the wiki page on ultras) and we do bounce back. There’s a saying, when you go extreme, you don’t die, you multiply (refer to WWE scripting). So Mr. Banerjee, we may meet you again next time at the gates of the hallowed grounds but with a vengeance. I am penning down what happened to show you how the mightier pen can actually punch a hole in your inflated ego and state of decadence.
That’s it for now, folks. I have got to go and catch somebody in the middle of their meal. Because. Because a win over your much hated opponents only keeps your stomach busy for a day or two. We dream to become the champions again. We are always hungry for more. And at Base Camp, we give you what you wish to see. Lights, Camera, Action. We are Ultras. We are Mohun Bagan.