THE BEST-KNOWN CRICKETER on the planet is now my neighbour. I mean, even with my aging arm muscles I’m sure I could fling a stone from my balcony and shatter the pristine plate glass of Sachin Tendulkar’s windows, not that I’m about to attempt that feat. After three years building his mansion, he moved in one balmy September morn. That day, on the otherwise nondescript lane in our Mumbai suburb, there was a steady influx of TV cameras, pert correspondents wearing inordinately tight clothes, crowds of excited young men, schoolgirls carrying bouquets and wiping sweat off their brows, women carrying what looked like trophies of a kind, a group with a welcome banner that climbed a tree and incurred the neighbours’ wrath—all right, my wrath—when they casually snapped a few three-foot-long branches and threw them to the ground.
“We are doing good work here today,” one argued when I went over to remonstrate, “and you’re trying to stop us? These were just twigs! They blocked part of our banner! Besides, do you know how many poor people our organisation helps? Bet you don’t help any!”