The sprawling apartment on the ground floor of 2, Nazar Ali Lane, is surrounded by lush greenery. Fruit and flower trees that attract scores of birds form a virtual oasis in the middle of one of Calcutta’s busiest business districts. Incredibly, it is the handiwork of one of Indian cricket’s most loved names, Arun Lal. “Not many know that my first passion is not cricket,” says the former Team India batsman, delighting in serving up a googly. “My dream is to plant trees and create forests.”
Actually, there are other, lesser known facts about Arun Lal that have recently started tumbling out of the closet—or garage, as it were. And it all started when Bikash Chowdhury, a 39-year-old associate vice-president of treasury at JSW Steel, gifted Lal a Mercedes Benz earlier this month. Not many know that Lal and his wife, Rina, who don’t have children of their own, raised the son of their local laundryman who turned out to be, in the cricketer’s words, “exceptionally brilliant”. Chowdhury is none other than that ‘dhobi ka larka’.