Giving Argentinian colours to a dream

first_imgShib Shankar Patra is one among thousands of die-hard Argentina fans in Kolkata and there’s nothing unusual about it. But then die-hard fans at times can be weird too and the 53-year-old Mr. Patra has that weird streak in him.Next best thingTrying to garner enough savings from his modest earnings through a tea stall, Mr. Patra harboured a dream — to watch ‘The Albiceleste’ live from the stands in Russia. But when a Kolkata-based travel agent informed him that his savings — a princely amount of ₹60,000 ($900) is not enough to fund his World Cup trip (travel agent gave him a budget of ₹1.5 lakh), he decided the next best thing — paint his entire three-storeyed building in Argentina colours.“I don’t smoke or drink. I have only one addiction and that is Lionel Messi and Argentina. I don’t earn much but ensure that bulk of my earnings is kept aside for these indulgences when World Cup comes calling,” Mr. Patra, owner of a tea and snack stall in North 24 Parganas’ Nawabganj township said.You don’t need a GPS to track Patra’s house once you get down to Ichhapore Railway Station. Ask any cocky teenager or elderly uncle about “Argentina Chaayer Dokan” (Argentina Tea Stall), they will be more than happy to oblige.The street leading up to his tea stall-cum-house is dotted with Argentina flags.Every four years coinciding with the World Cup, Mr. Patra gives his building a fresh coat of light blue and white shade. Enter his three-room apartment and the craziness hits you instantly. All the walls are painted in Argentina colour, even the small prayer room. The walls of each room adorn a life-size poster of Messi.Addiction can be contagious but if its ‘Messi mania’, Mr. Patra doesn’t mind that his wife Swapna along with his children — 20 year-old daughter Neha and 10-year-old son Shubham are equally mad about the fleet-footed genius. “My kids know everything about Messi. The food he likes, the car he drives, everything,” Mr. Patra says with a glint of pride in his eyes.last_img