For Kolkata's football aficionados, FIFA World Cup 2018 is a time for boisterous celebration [Photos]
Form murals of Messi to sondesh that supports your preferred team and gully games, the FIFA World Cup is a time of celebration in football-crazy Kolkata
The FIFA World Cup 2018 may be taking place several thousand km away in Russia, but the reverberations are being felt in football-crazy Kolkata. After maach (fish) and mishti (sweets), if a Bengali goes overboard over anything, it's football. Here: Even gloomy walls of old buildings war a brighter look, painted over with pictures of the gods — Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo.
Just how did Kolkata come to be so football crazy? It may have something to do with the sport's history in the City of Joy. Here: A Portugal supporter spins a ball on his finger.
Back in the 1800s, football was considered a white man's sport. No one knew then that Bengal would give rise to football stars like Goshta Paul, PK Banerjee, Bhaichung Bhutia or Sunil Chhetri. Here: A sky full of flags.
It is said that a bright, lanky teenager named Nagen was fascinated by this sport and he'd watch matches every chance he got. Once, during a game, a ball came flying in his direction, and without a second though, Nagen kicked it back. Nagen — aka Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari — is now known as the father of Indian football. He set up a number of football clubs in Bengal. These youngsters pictured here seem to be emulating his spirit.
The East Bengal-Mohun Bagan legacy is well known throughout India. Growing up, Bengali children fight over the superiority of chingri (prawn) and ilish (Hilsa) — or their favourite club. Bengali households will wear an air of gloom when a derby match is lost against the rival club. Here: A young fan polishes his footie skills.
The same passion is poured into supporting the teams participating in the FIFA World Cup — be it Brazil, Argentina, Germany or Portugal.
During the FIFA World Cup, football makes its way even into the city's sweets! Khoya or mawa models of the leading footballers are found at shops.
Flag sondesh to support your favourite team perhaps?