Durga Puja is one of the most celebrated festivals in India and for every Bengali it is probably the biggest event of the year. As is the case with former India captain Sourav Ganguly. In the upcoming book 'A Century is not Enough' written by Ganguly, the 45-year-old got candid on his affair with cricket, the kind of compromises he had to make to play for India and his love for Durga Puja -- playing the occasional dhak, distributing prasad to the public and even do a bit of dhunuchi dancing during evening arati of the Puja. The Prince of Kolkata, on one such occasion had to dress up like a 'sardarji' to avoid the crowd in Kolkata during his playing days when he was the captain of India.
"I am so hooked to the Pujas that I make it a point to always accompany the deity on her final ride. In Bengali there is a semi-tragic word for it - bisharjon. This is when the deity is immersed in the Ganga. The scene is amazing - the energy is sky-high, the crowds full of joy and sorrow at seeing Durga Ma going away, it's truly memorable. The area around the river is so crowded that once, during my Indian captaincy days, I decided to go disguised as one of Harbhajan's tribe. Yes, disguised as a sardarji," Ganguly wrote.
"Now I could have been mobbed big time. The situation could have gone out of control. But the thrill of accompanying the para boys and family members on the truck carrying the deity was just too irresistible," added the former India captain.
I am super excited to give you a first look at my debut book#ACenturyisNotEnough ,to be published end of this month.— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) February 2, 2018
Read the first chapter, go to Juggernaut:https://t.co/OChPk6UUiJ@juggernautbooks @gbsaltlake pic.twitter.com/KI8nNm3MH9
Turning a Bengali into a Sardar is no joke and Ganguly had to hire a make-up artist to pull off the adventure.
"My wife, Dona, had arranged for a make-up artist to come home to turn me from a hardcore Bengali into a convincing-looking Sikh. My cousins all mocked me, saying I would be recognized. I gave as good as I got and took up the challenge. They turned out to be right. I was not allowed on the truck by the police and had to follow it in our car with my daughter, Sana. As the car reached the Babughat area the police inspector peered in through the window, looked closely at me and smiled gently in recognition. I was embarrassed but asked him to keep my secret. The escapade was worth it. The immersion scene around the river is just indescribable. You have to see it to understand it. Durga Ma after all comes only once a year," revealed the 45-year-old.