Another funny day in paradise
Dilip Sardesai © Getty Images

Sunil Gavaskar is a fine raconteur. Those who were present at the silver jubilee celebration of India’s epic series triumph over the West Indies in 1971, will remember the many funny anecdotes Gavaskar had to narrate.

One such incident from that tour finds a place in his first book, Sunny Days.

One day, Salim Durani received a call from unknown person in his room.

Unknown caller: “Hello, is that Mr Dilip Sardesai speaking? I’m an admirer of his and want to speak with him.”

Durani: “I’m sorry, Dilip Sardesai is not in.”

Unknown caller: “Do you have any idea what time he will be back? I want to present him with a tape recorder. By the way, who am I speaking to?

Durani: “This is Salim Durani, his room-mate.”

Unknown caller: “Oh, Mr Durani! You are the one who took Gary Sobers’ wicket and also Clive Lloyd’s and got rid of these two to make India’s victory easy! Oh, I’m so happy to speak to you. I have got another tape recorder for you. Please come and collect it ad also the one for Sardesai. I’m waiting in the foyer, please.”

Gavaskar says that Durani was in his shorts when the telephone call came. He quickly changed into formals, wore the India tie and came down to the foyer. However, he could not spot any one with two tape recorders. Enquiries at the reception counter proved futile and he went back to his room and changed into his shorts again.

A few moments later, the telephone rang again in Durani’s room.

Unknown caller: “Mr Durani. I’m waiting for you. Aren’t you coming down?

Durani: “I had gone down, but I couldn’t find you anywhere.”

Unknown caller: “Oh I had gone to the swimming pool to see a friend, but do please come down. I’ll be waiting opposite the reception counter.”

Yet again Durani got into formals, wore his tie and combed his hair and walked down the two floors to be at the reception counter. Only to find that there was nobody waiting for him. He asked the receptionist, went to the swimming pool and back to the reception counter, but no luck.

Suddenly a voice behind Durani said: “So you want a tape recorder, huh?” and from the behind a pillar, out stepped Dilip Sardesai. It was he who had made those calls to Durani!

The good sports that Durani is, he forgot all the troubles he had to undergo and enjoyed a good laugh with his tormentor.