Football is a passion for Kolkata’s couple Pannalal (81) and Chaitali (71), which has taken them to eight World Cups previously and the 2014 Brazil edition will be no exception either, though this could be their last.
It all began in 1982 when the football-crazy couple, who live in a narrow bylane at Kidderpore in the south-western part of the city, when they spent one summer at their friend’s place in London and decided to go to Spain to watch the World Cup.
“Such was the excitement that we have not been able to miss any World Cup since then,” the Chatterjees, who leave Kolkata on June 17, told PTI.
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The next time around their fervour reached a different height after witnessing the Diego Maradona’s hand of God goal and bumping into Pele, two of their fondest memories till date.
“It’s difficult to explain in words how much we love the sport,” the Chatterjees, who have been to Mexico, Italy, then America, the fifth was France, then Germany, then Japan-Korea, then South Africa and now Brazil, he added.
A former Kolkata Port Trust employee, Pannalal gets a small pension of about Rs 7,500 and have a saree business as they save money every month to meet their expenses every four years.
The couple say they always take the Tricolour with them and keep them flying high, but regret they feel embarrassed when curious spectators ask them when India will play football.
“We have no answer to their queries… But we tell them we are proud Indians and have come here to watch the World Cup,” Pannalal said.
Ardent supporters of Brazil, it will be a dream come true for them to witness the extravaganza this time.
“Brazil is the the Mecca of football. This was our only wish to watch World Cup in Brazil. We don’t know whether we will be able to go the next time,” he added.