India may have never qualified for the Football World Cup in recent times, but that has done little to douse the passions of Indian fans. Every World Cup, stories emerge of average fans doing remarkable things to enhance their experience of this global tournament, where the best players from the world battle for supremacy.
Some have painted their homes in the colours of the teams they support. Others introduce discounts in their business establishments during matchdays.
Putul Borah, from Dipu town in Assam’s Karbi Anglong region, borrowed Rs 15 lakh from a bank to set up a massive 1,800 square feet auditorium built for 500 people so that locals can watch matches. Unable to watch it live in Russia, Putul is hoping to create a stadium-like atmosphere at home.
For the 53-year-old businessman, who is also a long-time Germany supporter, this is an old dream that has finally come to life. Borah told Telegraph, a Kolkata-based publication, “I took a bank loan of Rs 15 lakh for construction of the ‘symbolic stadium’. A 56-inch LCD monitor has been installed where all football fans can witness the highs and lows of the World Cup together.”
For the inauguration ceremony on Thursday for the first match between host nation Russia and Saudi Arabia, Putul invited veteran Assamese footballer Gilbertson Sangma, who has the distinction of leading the Assam team to the Santosh Trophy and representing India in 1975.
However, this isn’t the first time Putul has screened matches for locals. It’s something he has done since the 1990s, hosting approximately 200 fans a game.
“This time, I have made seating arrangements inside and outside the hall so that 500 people can enjoy watching the tournament,” he told the publication.
Paying tribute to Germany, his favourite team, Putul has gone on to name the auditorium ‘German Stadium’ marked by the flags of all 32 participating nations.