Friday, June 04, 2010

The Calcutta beat

Mamata Banerjee may have been crowned queen of Calcutta but it was circus queen Champa who strode majestically through the city the day after, blocking streets that the Trinamul boss has promised to keep clear even during her victory march on Saturday. Metro tracked the circus on the streets as Champa trekked from Gariahat to to Garia Bazar, throwing traffic out of gear and leaving the cops wondering under what section to book Mayawati’s mascot for trespassing on Mamata’s city…

11.32am: Champa, 30, takes over a flank of Bijon Setu with mahout Raju Singh, eight years her junior, navigating the traffic-infested concrete jungle she must cross to reach a circus that has pitched tent in Garia 11.34am: A police sergeant who had tried to stop Champa and failed walks back, walkie-talkie in hand, trying to make sense of her defiant trunk call
11.37am: Sir, er, ma’am, your licence and registration number, please, another traffic cop asks Champa and gets a jumbo ignore 12.03pm: After taking a roadside break off Bijon Setu, Raju climbs back to his perch holding Champa by the ears with her trunk supporting his legs
1.18pm: Champa gets a breather on the Bypass while an officer from Kasba police station asks forest officials if there is any provision in the Wildlife Protection Act to stop an elephant from walking down a city street. There isn’t 2.06pm: Born free and bonded to a circus but free to go for now — Champa waddles off going “chomp…chomp” on a leafy bough.