'Sundrop boy' begins to pick up pieces after failing dope test


Dressed in a yellow jumpsuit, he ran around giant pooris, gulab jamuns and dosas, cartwheeling his way through the delectable cuisine while his mother chased him around.

The commercial grew on you, increasing the cuteness quotient on TV and making your taste buds tingle. More than two decades after it was first aired, the ad for a cooking oil still rings a bell.

Mention the ad to that 'boy' and the embarrassment in his voice becomes apparent. "I came to know only recently that it was such a big hit. I was only seven back then," he says.

Twenty-two years after bursting onto the scene with that ad, the 'Sundrop boy' is now hoping his career blossoms all over again. Nishant Mehra's is one of Indian football's intriguing stories.

A semi-pro model and a professional footballer, who achieved the dubious distinction of becoming the first Indian player to flunk a dope test, the 29-year-old midfielder is now hoping to resurrect his career after serving a two-year ban imposed on him by the National Anti-Doping Agency.

Mehra tested positive for recreational drug THC (a byproduct of marijuana) in February 2011. Back then, he was the captain of Mumbai FC and was one of the good Indian players in the league. The news obviously came as a shock to Mehra and the football fraternity.

"The first few months after the ban were tough. There have been good days where I have handled my situation well and there have been days where I have let it get the better of me," he says.

Mehra's suspension period got over on February 10 and he rejoined Mumbai FC soon after. On a comeback trail, he is with the squad training for the remainder of the I-League season, which will resume in a little over three weeks.

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