ONE THOUSAND HOCKEY LEGS should take off to a flying start in Kolkata.
You might remember we first met at the CC & FC ground at 10-30 am where the Kolkata six-a-side tournament was underway. We met Inderjit Singh, later Mr Rocky Downes.
Thereafter we started on the 23rd Feb at 2-30 pm from the Apollo Hospital and reached the Julien Day School, Ganganagar and spoke to Mr Julian Glynn Broughton and Rocky Downes; made our presentation and willingly accepted their schools at Ganganagar and Kalyani to our OTHL program. The Kolkata heat was a little uncomfortable for you, I suppose.
The next morning, we reached the Guru Nanak Public School at Alampur, Howrah at 9.00 am. Mr Jogeswari, the principal, listened to whatever we all had to say. She was modest and would not allow us to take snaps!
Next we went to the Bauria Girls High School where we spoke to Miss Rebecca Kobra, who responded to our very positively. Thereafter it was time for us to go to the Burikhali Khetramohan Institution where the principal and the games teacher did not fail our enthusism -- with positive responses.
At 3-00 pm we reached the Kanaipur Sriguru High School, Nabogram, Konnagar where Mr Amaresh Sarkar was present. Though hockey is already in their school, he requested us to provide some 15-20 junior hockey sticks.
It is here during our journey a tyre of our taxi went flat and it had to be changed! After enjoying a piece of cake and a cold drink, we went to Brahmananda High Shool where again the Principal was positive in his response.
Lastly we visited the Nabogram High School (am i right?) where the principal appeared to take our ideas with a pinch of salt and gave us not so welcome as we would have otherwise had so far in our sojourn.
After this we took off and reached the Mohun Bagan Ground where we paid a courtesy visit to Mr Divnain Singh, the white bearded gentleman, one of coaches of Indian Olympic squad for the Atlanta Games.
I saw you off in front of the Eden gardens at about 7-00 p.m. after munching some groundnuts of course.
The works continued even after Gupta left from Kolkata.
Yesterday, I visited the "Shanti Sangha Siksha Mandir Girls' High School", 34, Swamiji Road, Parnashree, Kolkata at 3-00 p.m.. I was about 5 minutes behind schedule. I was hardly prepared for the kind of response I got. This I should honestly accept.
The Headmistress, Mrs Tinku Chakrabarty with her extremely pleasant demeanor, and her team of teachers not only gave me attentive ears as I made the presentation with your CD but took me around the school as well.
The pupils are underprivileged girls from Kolkata suburbs, many of whom are malnourished. "All of us want to play hockey, Sir" they said in a loud chorus. They have a full sized play ground. Mrs Chakraborty was straight forward when she said that she did not need any formal letter from HCG for considering our offer!!
She will arrange for Rs 1000/- and will forward the amount to me along with their letter of acceptance, which I will send to you.
So this was how our exploratory mission of One Thousand Hockey Legs went in Kolkata.
Lets keep our fingers crossed and see how many of them follow up with the letter of acceptance.
Note: This is the verbatim production of Dr.Shankar's email to Shashank Gupta, which gives a clear picture how things went in Kolkata in this exploratory mission.
Developing sustained passion for Hockey by introduction of Hockey to pre and early teenaged children and simultaneously promoting playing sport as a culture and tradition, thereby contributing to develop a sports loving society.