The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sourav is brother first and skipper later

Jamshedpur, Nov. 5: Sourav Ganguly celebrated Bhai-Phonta a day early.

This afternoon, the skipper headed for the Telco colony after net practice at Keenan Stadium. Cousin Saspa, who grew up with Sourav at the family’s Behala home, was waiting.

“Saspa applied tika on his forehead. Our neighbours and their children enjoyed Sourav’s visit,” her mother-in-law Minoti Chatterjee said.

“Sourav came in the afternoon and stayed for quite some time. He was very relaxed and chatted with us on various topics,” she added.

Alu-bhate, phool kopi, posto, begun bhaja and chatni were served for lunch.

“Today being Tuesday, Sourav doesn’t eat non-vegetarian food and rice. The Gangulys are devout disciples of Ma Mangal Chandi,” Minoti said, adding that Sourav took more than one helping of posto.

“He likes posto very much. It is one of his favourite dishes.”

Saspa lives with her husband, daughter and mother-in-law in the P-Type quarters. Her husband, Debashish, works in the finance department of Tata Engineering. The couple had gone out for dinner with the captain last night.

She had called him yesterday, when the Indian team arrived in the city with their Caribbean counterparts, to ask him over for Bhai-Phonta.

“I spoke to Sourav after he reached the city. He said he would confirm his programme later,” Saspa said.

The captain decided to drop in today because he won’t get time tomorrow, when the first one-dayer is played.

“We chatted for a while. He said he would be coming to my house,” Saspa said over phone. The last time Sourav had visited was in 2000.

“He had come a day before and after the match against South Africa here in 2000,” she added. He drops in whenever he is the city, Saspa said.

“Things mostly revolve around our childhood and cricket is absolutely put on the backburner for a while. He is a good and lovable brother,” the younger sister declared.

Recalling their growing-up years in the Ganguly home in Behala, Saspa said: “Ours was joint family. Sourav and I spent most of our childhood and studied together. He was a talented cricketer right from his childhood days. He is a hard worker,” she added.

“I treat him as my brother, not as India’s captain.”

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