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The merry band of Eden
Arindam Basu (with inputs from Aishwarya and Sayan)
3rd October 2016
Lalu Gupta is from Domjur in Howrah district. As a boy he had always dreamt of playing cricket at the highest level. He was good at batting also. He is at Eden Gardens today.
Only he is on the other side of the fence, as part of the 24-men dhaki team that rolls the drums before the match.
Under a lazy sun with torn clouds flying about like upturned whales, he sits along with his band of merry men beating the drums to start off every session. Their presence has also brought about the Durga Puja ambience to the stadium filling the air with an essence of festivity.
Asked what happened to his dream, he said: "I was crazy about cricket. Even now I watch all India matches. I cant express my happiness at being in Eden Gardens and seeing the Indian players at a shake hand distance. My dreams have been fulfilled," Lalu said.
Asked what he dpoes for the rest of the year, "Playing drums during durga puja is quite rewarding. For the rest of the year I sell tea."
Vijay Das, his friend, adds: “This is seasonal. You don't have such occasion throughout the year. So I work in a leather shop. I have played dhak in puja planals before. But never in a cricket gallary. My sister wants an autograph of Virat Kohli. She calls me up every now and then. I am a huge fan of Virat. It is such a privilege watching him so close."
Sunil Das, who comes from Murshidabad, adds: "The concept of dhaki comes only from our place. It signifies the start of anything holy”.
Sitting in front of the boundary line they have cerytainly added Bangaliana to the whole event.