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Welcome to Dada's world

by Gaurav Sethi

Expect more than a gentle knock on the door
Sourav Chandidas Ganguly stands in front of the mirror. He's working painstakingly on giving himself the perfect comb-over. In times like this, he thinks of his comb-over idol, Donald Trump. He doesn't admire Trump much, but as he often says, "You gotta give the man his determination, to always have the perfect comb-over." Dona breezes in, as only a dancer can, alerting her husband: "Sourav, do you know what the time is? You're getting late again! Do you want to be late for your first day as president?" Sourav smiles that knowing smile (one he often smiles when he cuts his co-commentators down to size). "Dona, not late my dear, fashionably late. I have a reputation. What good is it if I don't live up to this reputation?" Dona doesn't like Sourav's patronising tone. "Sourav, don't speak to me like you're talking to Manjrekar in the box about cricket strategies." Ganguly laughs: "Haha Dona, and since when have you started to take such a keen interest in my commentary? This is definitely a first. I must tell Sanjay about this, he'll be delighted too..." Dona interjects: "You will do no such thing, I heard it from Arpita, she follows all the India matches ball-by-ball... think she has a crush on you... and don't you dare mention this to her." Ganguly is now delighted enough to forget about his comb-over, he places the comb down on the dresser. He tries his hand at modesty, an alien art form for the great Ganguly. "Oh c'mon, when did lovely young dancers have crushes on retired middle-aged men who spend their mornings combing over... haha I don't believe this."
Finally, Ganguly sits in his favourite Mercedes convertible, on his way to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) headquarters at Eden Gardens. He has for company The Statesman and The Telegraph, and is pleased to find himself on the front pages of both. He thinks to himself: Finally the old boys are getting journalism right. His St Xavier's College WhatsApp group has been buzzing for days; mostly congratulations for his fresh appointment. It's a very private group, comprises only eight of them and has everything to do with Ganguly's birthday on July 8. His mates are pushing for a lunch at the Eden pavilion or dinner at Dum Pukht. Ganguly has asked to be excused, stating it is still too close to Jagmohan Dalmiya's death, and he would prefer to meet in the privacy of his home.
At Eden, the press is present in large numbers, as are Dada's darlings, some waiting with garlands, others with placards. Ganguly steps out of his Merc, pauses for a moment, issues a perfunctory statement in Bengali that sends the crowd into a tizzy. His journalist friend, Biswajeet, asks, "Fashionably late, Sourav da?" Ganguly smiles, and shakes his hand languidly. They walk into Eden together, along with some office bearers carrying files.
As Ganguly enters, he notices his first meeting has been organised on the ground itself: the gesture isn't lost on him, it has been organised on the offside. A banner proclaims: "Welcome Hon'ble President of CAB Sourav Chandidas Ganguly". God of the offside! There's another one that states: "From Prince of Kolkata to King of Kolkata, our Dada!" Ganguly thanks those present and also makes it clear there was no need for such fanfare. The meeting is swiftly shifted indoors and Ganguly is down to business already.
Once inside the solemnity of the boardroom, Ganguly pays his tributes to Dalmiya. He loses no time in identifying CAB's key goals - laying emphasis on CAB under-13 and CAB under-16 leagues moving on to CAB under-21. He talks of his tenure as Indian captain, how identifying and backing youngsters like Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh and seeing them succeed was possibly more rewarding than scoring runs himself. He goes on to talk of Virender Sehwag, how CAB must encourage the difference in cricketers, how differences make them unique and often brilliant. Most of Ganguly's speech is about cricket and cricketers, definitely a first in a cricket association office from a president. There is no mention of business, money, files as yet. He rounds up by emphasising on the importance of Eden Gardens as a cricketing "Mecca", and how its significance had been lost during N Srinivasan's tenure as president of the BCCI. Even though this is a well-known fact, this wasn't something that was spoken so openly. Not before today at least.
Welcome to Dada's world. Expect more than a gentle knock on the door.
(However plausible this might sound, this is largely a work of fiction.)
First published here

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