What is Sourav Ganguly like in real life?

So I met Sourav "Dada" Ganguly back in 2008, when I was in Calcutta, finishing off my Bachelor's. Dad was in town and both of us being cricket fanatics, decided to hit Saurav's Food Pavilion on Park Street, Ganguly's own lounge, to get a feel of how it is like to be in Dada's lair!

It was a hot summer's day and I and Dad were tired and sweat-drenched after a long morning of shopping in and around Park Street - Esplanade. So I and my Dad went up to the lounge bar, on the top floor of the joint. Since it was barely 4 PM, there was not a soul around other than the bartender and a few waiters.

The lounge had a giant screen and they were playing some random cricket match on it. Both of us sat at the bar table and ordered cocktails to cool ourselves. To our dismay, there were bugs and little cockroaches moving around on the bar table and we had to brush them off every now and then.

"We've called in the exterminator," the bartender told us.

We just smiled and moved to a regular table, away from the bar. So I and Dad were discussing totally irrelevant things like my career, my future plans, my girlfriend, and whatnot.

"So yeah, astrophysics from St. Xavier's is not a bad idea." Dad was saying. "I've been doing some dig.." he suddenly stopped midway and stared right through me.

"What?" I asked him, amused at the sudden stop.

"He's here," Dad whispered, eyes transfixed on something behind me.

"Who? Who's here?" I asked, turning around to catch his gaze.

"Dada!" Dad exclaimed in a soft whisper.

And then I saw him too! He was in a loose blue checked shirt and blue jeans, talking to some of his staff.

We just stared. I think we stared a little too hard for suddenly he looked in our direction only to catch two hopeless cricket fanatics gaping at him open-mouthed. He smiled, probably out of sympathy!

He walked towards us. Shit, he's coming in our direction.

"Neil, be cool!" I heard Dad say absentmindedly.

"Yeah, you too!" I mumbled back, lost.

Dada came, smiled at us, and walked right by us moving towards the bar to meet his bartender. He was soon lost in a serious discussion with the bartender.

Till date, I don't know what came over me, but suddenly I sprang up from my chair and shouted, "DADA!"

"Neil, what the hell are you doing?" Dad said, biting his teeth together.

Sourav stopped everything he was doing and looked at me with a how dare you to interrupt me look. "Yes?" was all he said, as he put on a fake smile.

"The bar's got cockroaches!" I said, faking importance. I was a customer, right?

He turned towards the bartender and said something before he got up and walked towards us. I sat back down in a hurry. Oh my God! Dada's coming! Oh my God! He's gonna fuck us up.

"May I?" he asked pointing towards an empty chair at our table.

"By all means," Dad replied.

Switching over to Bengali, Dad said, "I'm sorry about my son. I'm sure he just said it to get your attention."

Dada had eased himself into his chair by then. "That's okay," Dada replied, smiling. "I agree with your son. There is cock.."

"Big fan!" I screamed again, like an asshole on crack!

Dada laughed. It was an amazing laugh. I've never seen Dada laugh. He's always been an intense, no-nonsense, I dare you to do this kind of guy. I had always pictured him as an intimidating personality off the field. I was so wrong. His laugh was like music.

"Arrey, chup koro toh!" Dad said, nudging me with his elbow. (Hey, shut up!)

"Well, as I was saying, we have already informed the fumigator. He'll be here soon." Dada said.

"So, what time do the crowds usually set in?" Dad asked again, attempting to strike up a conversation. Apparently, Dada had time to burn!

And thus began an enthralling half an hour with the one and only Sourav Ganguly. We discussed everything from cricket, to politics, to Park Street, and yeah, Dad's personal favorite, his alma mater, St. Xavier's school. Needless to say, St. Xavier's took up most of the discussion time.

Unfortunately, none of us had a camera or camera phones to take pictures. But I did end up taking his autograph - it was my second from him. He was nothing as I had imagined him to be.

A tiger on the field and a gentleman off it! To top it off, our entire tab was "taken care of".

"He didn't want you to leave thinking about cockroaches," said the bartender when we asked him for the bill.

We smiled and tipped him generously.

"You know," Dad said, as we stepped out of the joint. "He's just like us."

That sums up my experience with the great Prince of Calcutta - Sourav Ganguly. One of the most memorable moments of my life.

 

Neil Manon

Source - Quora