For Mohan Bagan: Fighting cancer, Maji saves from his pocket to cheer for Kolkata giants
Srinagar, Nov 20: Donned a partially green and maroon shirt, 45-year-old Bapi Maji ecstatically waves a flag as Mohun Bagan FC players start warming up for the game. Suddenly, he stands up and shouts Mohun Bagan captain Shilton Paul’s name, who equally responds to him before the football is kicked at the Centre. Maji, a tea seller, known to Mohun Bagan team, never misses any chance to watch the matches of the Kolkatta giants anywhere in India. His love for Mohun Bagan FC earned him a name ‘Walking Mascot’, as he often is seen cheering loudly for the players in whatever circumstances of the game. Maji, was recently diagnosed with colon cancer and had almost grim chances to watch Mohun Bagan FC versus Real Kashmir FC match, considering his medication schedule and cold climate. But without caring for his diseases, the effects of which has almost subsided, Maji chose to sit on cold iron benches to watch his team performing against I –League debutants Real Kashmir FC. “I never skip any match of my team. And it is not less than a treat to watch Sony Norde, Omar Elhussieny or any other players in Kashmir especially,” he said. Maji said he has saved his income for months together to accompany Mohun Bagan FC to Kashmir. “I got much help from people to treat my diseases. But for Kashmir tour I saved money after working hard. I really desired to visit Kashmir as I heard much about the people and particularly game during the recent past,” he said. After spending two days in Srinagar, Maji was moved by the craze for the beautiful game among Kashmiris. “We failed to get tickets initially but then some local boy came and made it possible for us to watch the match. We never expected to see a sea of people cheer for their team,” he said. Like Maji as many as 30 Mohun Bagan FC fans were there on the stands to watch the game, which the Kolkatta giants won by 1:0. Arijit, a member of Delhi Mariners, which is a Mohun Bagan FC fan club said Kashmir deserves more football due to its beautiful nature. “We had many Kashmir players like Ishfaq Ahmed, Mehrajuddin Wadoo playing for Mohun Bagan. So, overall Kashmir is beautiful and there should be beautiful game in Kashmir,” he said. After the culmination of the game, the Kolkata fans gathered and cheered for Real Kashmir FC for giving it a tough competition for Mohun Bagan FC to score goals.