“Why has Esplanade turned pink, it used to be all blue?” asks the taxi driver, who is on his last trip in the late hours of Tuesday evening.
“There is a cricket match happening. The day-night Test between India and Bangladesh which will be played with a pink ball and hence…” I reply.
“Aah! So that is why! Looks beautiful doesn’t it? Are tickets available?,” he asks after which we share a laugh.
Indeed, when the sun sets across the City of Joy, it does seem like that Kolkata’s sky has been painted with every hue of pink.
Ahead of Friday, the city with all its grandeur has been receiving the final touches of pink before getting ready for the historic day-night Test between India and Bangladesh. The Men in Blue have already drawn first blood in the series in Indore after an emphatic win by an innings and 130 runs.
The towering structures around the Eden Gardens including the high-rise in the midst of the city, The 42, the Shahid Minar will be lit up in pink. Meanwhile, another Tata Steel building will be mapped in 3D before the weekend.
A giant pink balloon which is already floating in the sky will continue to hover till the end of the match on November 26. On the other hand, a ferry with pink lights already sails on the Hooghly river between the iconic Howrah Bridge and Vidyasagar Setu and will continue to do so every evening till the match day.
THE RIOTERS OF CHANGING COLOURS
Be it the intricacies of North Kolkata or the architectural magnificences of Victoria Memorial, there is never a dull glimpse in Kolkata’s cultural carousel.
Vibrant artists have come together to smear the walls of the Eden Gardens with paint to make it more lively and dynamic. They depict the journey of a cricketer in almost gigantic murals inside the stadium.
Among the young minds at work is 22-year-old Vijay who feels happy to be a part of this historic contest.
“It is special to paint a stadium like Eden Gardens. There is a lot of colour involved and will have a very positive effect on young fans. The environment (at such a site) can be made more vibrant and not (be) simply filled with commercial advertisements,” he said.
“The aim behind this project was to portray the development of a cricketer and its associated challenges while focusing upon the need for more public participation in the game,” he explained.
When the Test match begins Army paratroopers will also descend upon the Eden Gardens to hand over a pink ball to the two captains just before the toss which promises to be a sight to behold.
THE UNIQUENESS OF THE TEST
A day-night Test means a departure from the traditional starting time of 9:30 AM to 1 PM. Pink balls will also be used in place of the red cherry. This is because it aids better visibility under lights.
Eight of the 12 Test-playing nations have had a stint with the pink ball. India are the only major Test-playing nation to have not played a day-night Test while Bangladesh, too, will also be making their debut with the pink ball.
There was talk of a photoshoot of the captains of the respective teams, Virat Kohli and Mominul Haque, with the trophy in front of Hooghly river, but the Indian skipper refused to take part in it.
Meanwhile, tickets are sold out according to BCCI President Sourav Ganguly’s press conference last week but there is still a queue over the counter.
Seeing the crowd, the taxi driver says, “Maybe I can try my luck today. My son would love to feel the atmosphere at this ground. 20 rupees extra for the trip sir,” he guffaws before driving away.