The presence of television cameras at Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra International Airport forced many a passenger to ponder whether one of the Bollywood Khans was supposed to land in Kolkata.
The Khans can wait. Instead, the school kids garlanded the Indian Arrows; Pailan Indian Arrows to be precise as the television crew rushed to get bytes from India’s U-23 star footballers. Needless to say, the footballers were taken aback a bit as almost everyone asked them to pose for group photos and some for family albums.
Standing in the crowd at some distance, the sweet smell of ‘Pan-masala’ mixed with the sweat. The onlookers, for the moment, had forgotten the humidity; even the taxi-drivers found it best to peep. Some of them already knew who the boys were; the rest enquired.
Deepak Devrani, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Jagroop Singh, Jagtar Singh, Milan Singh, Lalrozama, Jibon Singh, Ajay Singh, the two Gurtej-s, Navin Kumar, Bijen Rai and others – Welcome to the City of Joy, Kolkata. The Pailan World School is the new base of Indian Arrows.
The skyline of Kolkata is fast changing. As the boys drove from the Airport to their new base, the banners splashed all over the City struck them. Sitting next, one could gauge their satisfaction by their faces.
Amidst the Bollywood Khans, Kolkata’s Dada – Sourav Ganguly and ‘Didi’ – Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Pailan Indian Arrows’ signing ceremony and their match against Bengal Santosh Trophy winning squad on 10th, is bound to strike you all throughout the City. After a long time, a football team is being accepted in all circles in the society – the Pailan Indian Arrows.
The journey to the new base took almost 90 minutes but once one reaches there, the facilities are bound to strike you. The two training grounds (another one coming up), the dining hall, the swimming pool, the tennis courts and the gymnasium make it the perfect base for a development squad.
A traditional tikka ceremony was held upon the arrival of the boys at the World School, the hostel students of which seemed visibly pleased to have the U-21 boys as their neighbours. After all, seven players from the batch have already represented the Indian National Team and twelve in the U-23 Pre-Olympic Qualifiers.
The madness for football in the City is infectious, the boys already understood within the first couple of hours. The ‘Mecca of Indian Football’ has a new addition to the Indian family – Pailan Indian Arrows.