The one who dropped the ball: Before Sachin Tendulkar, there was Anil Gurav
- Real estate bill: BJP hits back at Rahul Gandhi, asks if he visited hail-affected farmers in Amethi
- Mumbai: Assistant sub-inspector shoots senior, self in Vakola police station
- Moga bus molestation: Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh orders Orbit buses off the road amid protests
- Three killed, 16 injured in accident at Harduaganj thermal station
- Amarnath Yatra: Nirmal Singh hits back at Geelani, says separatists have become 'irrelevant'
When Sachin Tendulkar started out, Anil Gurav was Mumbai's brightest star, offering him tips and once a bat. As Sachin calls it a day, Bharat Sundaresan meets the man who disappeared into the shadows
Far, far away from Wankhede Stadium and even further away from the man who is the cynosure of it, in a 200-sq ft cramped dwelling with paint peeling off the walls, lurks another Sachin story.
On most days, at most hours, on a bare rickety bed here, in Mumbai's Nalasopara, you can find Anil Gurav. The smell of cheap alcohol rests around him, as do years of pain in his wild, staring, glazed eyes. It's his memory that remains the sharpest, particularly so these days. And as the Tendulkar story draws to a glorious end, these memories have been flooding back to Gurav: of how it was he who had once been the chosen one, of being called the Viv Richards of Mumbai, the next big thing from the city since Sunil Gavaskar, of playing with that curly haired boy from Bandra who had always been so talented, of teaching him a few tricks, and of once, long, long ago, lending a cricket bat with which the boy would hit his first competitive century — one of a historic many.
Gurav also remembers every bitter detail about how he lost his own way, partly to many things beyond his control. Particularly a brother who strayed to the other, darker side of Mumbai.
Nalasopara itself is the back of beyond — in Mumbai parlance, 26 stations away from Churchgate if you board a slow train. To get there though is only the beginning of the ordeal. While the main market area in this outlying suburb bustles with activity, the only way to 'Tulinge Naka' is via a treacherous potholed road.