World Cup Diary: Durga Puja, an enduring love affair for Dada
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, a key member of the 'para' organising committee, has plans to soak in the festive week
The last time Eden Gardens hosted the marquee matches of the cricket World Cup — including the India–Pakistan league game and the final — was during 2016's T20 edition, with Sourav Ganguly was at the helm of affairs as the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
This time's 50-over format sees the former BCCI president taking a backseat, though he is a key member of the 12-man steering committee for the mega event, with his elder brother Snehasish at the forefront.
However, there's a good 10 days to go for the first of the five matches to be played the City of Joy on 28 October (Bangladesh vs Netherlands) and for now, 'Dada' just wants to be in the city and soak in the Durga Puja festivities this weekend. The fact that the former India captain is not a part of the TV pundits’ bandwagon crisscrossing the country this time also helps Ganguly to catch some downtime.
‘’No travel for me during this week," Ganguly told a regional news channel. "Through the years, I have always tried to stay in the city as much as possible for these four days — though it was not possible during playing days. I have been to many a festival around the world but there is nothing which comes remotely close to this!’’
Having grown up in a huge joint family in a palatial Behala mansion on the southern fringes of the city, Ganguly’s involvement with Durga Puja has been often well-documented by the local media. The neighbourhood puja next door, organised by Barisha Players’ Corner, is an extended family affair for him — this is where Ganguly is often seen obliging the selfie seekers, playing the dhaak, and more.
‘’These days, I don’t play the dhaak any more. I do go out to watch a few idols sparingly, but to see such happiness in people’s faces — irrespective of age, religion or economic conditions — is a pleasure. Stay safe and enjoy the pujas,’’ was his message for the city's revellers.
Earlier, Ganguly was seen in Ahmedabad along with his brother and other officebearers of the CAB last Saturday, as guests of the BCCI at the India–Pakistan game.
This was also a corporate commitment for Ganguly as he was the centre of attraction for the Breakfast with the Champion event on the morning of the match. The conversation was hosted by Lisa Sthalekar, former Australian women’s cricket captain and now a TV pundit.
Published: 17 Oct 2023, 6:18 PM