Sourav Ganguly: Philosopher Prince
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Sourav Ganguly: Philosopher Prince

A spat with Greg; dropped from team India. But at home, he is a different man, finds Pradeep Magazine.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 21:16 IST

There is a nip in the air and the December morning Kolkata traffic is not as chaotic as one had heard it would be. Honking cars, run-down buses and snail-paced trams all seem to merge into each other and yet the flow of traffic is smooth. Sitting in a taxi, I am impatient, not wanting to be late for my appointment with one of the most enigmatic characters of Indian sportSourav Ganguly.

The man who has been in the news for the whole of last year for all the wrong reasons, is as much reviled as he is loved (the divide is so sharp that those who hate him won't accept the fact that he has fans who worship him). He is supposed to have so many layers to his personality that one is eager to meet the man in his moorings, among his family members and try to find out what makes Ganguly the person he is.

Is he a rebel or a rabble rouser? Is India's most successful captain the scheming manipulator Greg Chappell would like us to believe he is, or is he the quintessential sportsman who has his lows as well as his highs and can't see the end when it is coming?

Richie Rich

At 10.30 am sharp, one reaches his house. To call it a house would be a misnomer. It is more like one of those group housing societies that Delhi is dotted with: the four red-coloured four-storey buildings give the impression that it must be home to many families. In this sprawling place, almost a dozen cars of different makes and hues are parked in the porch. A narrow gangway leads to one of the four buildings where Sourav stays.

2005 was a tough year for cricketer and former skipper Sourav. But he will get his due, says his mother, Nirupa Ganguly.

One has been told that the Gangulys, who own Asia's third largest printing press, are among the five richest families in Kolkata. There sure is a suggestion of affluence all around and as one eyes the locked iron-grilled door apprehensively, Sourav peeps out from the second floor balcony and shouts: "I am coming."

The servant ushers us (I am accompanied by our photographer Soumitra Ghosh ) into a huge hall where one could have easily played cricket had it not been filled with trophies, mementoes and giant-sized framed pictures of Sourav and his brother Snehashish (a former Ranji cricketer), captured in various moods both on and off the field.

Moments later, Sourav, sporting a gentle smile, greets both of us. Before we can even say a hello, Sourav says, "Let me show you Dona's (his wife's) house. I will show you my place later."

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 18:26 IST