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Shivering under soccer fever, Kolkata turns a Brazil bastion

Written by: Staff
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Kolkata, June 6 (UNI) Otherwise a red citadel of Communism, Kolkata is suddenly changing colour, literally, and turning into a yellow-green Brazil bastion as the World Cup fever grips the soccer-crazy eastern metropolis.

Barely days before World's Greatest Show on Earth which kicks off in Germany on June 9, a soccer flu has taken the city by storm as the soccer capital of the country braces for sleepless nights again.

The soccer high tide has not spared anyone -- from the people in the corridor of power to the vendors on the streets.

In a city where soccer mania borders on jingoism, dividing the Bengali population between the arch-rival clubs of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan for several decades, it is Brazil that unites the people when it comes to international soccer even though Diego Maradona's Argentina still holds its own in pockets and so does Eusebio's Portugal and England for the neo Beckhams of the town.

With no controlling whip to crack, the city walls have been painted yellow-green with larger than life Ronaldinho and Ronaldo in dribbling motions. And then comes along Lionel Messi of Argentina and Cesc Fabregas of Spain.

Kalighat in south Kolkata has been the runway winner when it came to soccer graffiti but the story is different this time.

A visit to Netaji Kishore Sangha in the Eastern fringes of the city in Baguiati and Ronaldos, Ronaldinhos, Rooneys parade before the eyes as youngsters don their favourite jerseys with their idol's name on the back.

The ever bustling Maidan Market of downtown Esplanade looks a slice of Brazil with yellow-green jerseys, caps and flags disappearing from the sports good shops.

Same is the story with the knick-knacks and sundries that are on sell at the markets in Canning Street. They include wrist bands of different countries to key chains and miniature toys and piggybanks with the image of Rooney, Beckham, Ronaldo and the rest pasted on them.

''The demand for jerseys of Brazil is highest followed by Argentina though other countries are selling well too. The teenagers are experimenting with other European countries but those from a little older generation prefer Brazil still,'' said a shopkeeper of Maidan Market who is doing brisk business.

Sports dressing and fashion is in. The economical Maidan Market apart, in many big and branded outlets the soccer T-shirts are available for Rs 200 while the jackets and jerseys cross the Rs 500 mark. The branded ones with original jerseys are more expensive.

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