DISCLAIMER : Those of you who are reading this post expecting to read something about Dada and his unfavorable position with the selectors let me warn you that this post has nothing to do with him.
Twenty 17 years olds with no common bond between them, out of their homes for the first time in their lives, terribly homesick, hopelessly failing in all the class tests, ragged by seniors, awed by our “day scholar” peers who were “city girls”, apprehensive about everything and completely hating hostel life in an engineering college.
And then Ganguly happened. I still distinctly remember the day he came into our lives. It was 5 in the evening and the day of an India Pakistan match. Our seniors had bunked college and were sitting in the TV room watching the match. All of us (first years) had just come back from college, back to the wretched hostel and were sitting outside hostel, drinking a brown colored mildly warm, sickeningly sweet liquid which the mess workers liked to call tea and making polite conversations with each other about the day’s happenings when we heard whines and yelps from behind a bush where we were sitting. Having heard horror stories from seniors about how our hostel was infested with snakes (stories which we later passed on to our juniors!! :P) a few of us retreated from the bush while a few brave ones ventured into the bush to discover the source of the noise.
And there behind the bush lying next to his mother, looking at us shyly with black eyes which were limpid pools of innocence was Ganguly. The smallest, whitest, cutest and loveliest puppy we had ever seen. (Though I have many photos of Ganguly I don’t have a single one of his in that almost divine form of his.). we quickly called all the scaredy cats who had run away to show them the puppy (not christened as yet). We watched in unmasked delight as he shyly hid behind his mother probably embarrassed by the presence of 10 girls looking intently at him.
One of us (the only one who was in the senior’s good books – Fermie was it you?) called them to have a look. The match had just gotten over with Ganguly performing abysmally as the captain and losing out to archrivals Pakistan by a huge margin.
"Yevlo azhaga irruku" one girl squealed
"Eeeeeeeeeks. Rabies varum." Maintain your distance. That was me. I was a person who was very very scared of dogs (stress is on the word “was”. Ganguly completely changed my outlook and the day I make enough money and buy a house of my own, I will buy a German Shepherd or a cocker spaniel or german shepherd to give me company and name him Popeye!!)
It’s a boy squealed another one who had a dog at home
Yenna per vekailam? What shall we call it? this question was doing its rounds and suddenly a voice said “Lets name him Ganguly. The way he performed in this match only a dog deserves his name”. this sent peals of laughter and hoots of approval amongst all present and we turned around to see who had christened him. It was Sita akka. One of the nicest, seniors, then known to all of us as padips (a crude term used in engineering to refer to anyone who studied) and scholarship holder. So Ganguly he was and since his mother was friendly enough we gently lifted the little fellow and held him up high for everyone to look and admire while he yelped and whined for his mother.
Having restored him to the safety of his mothers lap (errr. What else would u call the part of a dog’s body where her children lie?? ), We spent the entire evening and a better part of the night looking at Ganguly, feeding him the mess food (which he refused politely, preferring his mothers milk to horse hide chapatis) and talking about him late into the night with the seniors.
At last we had found a common bond amongst us. At last were not scared of our seniors but were chattering happily with them about Ganguly. At last it looked like we were settling down.
(To be continued..)
For u guys to be able to relate better to ganguly here is a pic of him!! :)
Click to get a better image and to see Ganguly in all his glory!! (do check out his eyes!! :))