Business Standard

When 'Chuni da' would bunk office to watch tennis

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Press Trust of India Kolkata
He awed the fans with his football and cricketing skills in a distinguished career but Chuni Goswami also loved tennis and to the extent that he would often bunk office work to catch some action at the Calcutta South Club.
Goswami worked as a manager at the State bank of India's Chowranghee branch where his East Bengal counterpart Sukumar Samajpati was posted as an accountant.
During the summer of late 1970s when it was time for load-shedding, Goswami would quietly make a move to Calcutta South Club after lunch, leaving Samajpati at the mercy of hundreds of livid customers.
"Everything was dark and we would work with candles as there was no generator. The work was badly hampered. But he would swiftly go and catch up on tennis," 80-year-old Samajpati fondly recalled, in an interaction with PTI.
Having made his Bengal debut in the 1960 Santosh Trophy final under Goswami, Samajpati would usually stay quiet but one day he confronted him.
And what happened ?

" 'Am I accountable to you?' was Goswami's stern reply," Samajpati recollected in an emotional voice.
"He would never miss his tennis. He was very fond of the sport and even won a club tournament for Mohun Bagan, partnering Indian tennis great Jaidip Mukerjea."

The former India Davis Cup captain chipped in: "I cannot remember the match details but we won against our respective brothers Manik Goswami and Chirodip Mukerjea (who is now overseas)."

"We knew each other since 1970s, when I was on the verge of retirement. He was a good club level player. And we played some great matches. We were close friends and would go out together," Mukerjea said.
"He was friendly with all tennis players be it Ramantahan Krishnan or Premjit Lall."

Goswami and Samajpati worked together for years after their playing days and "remained friends forever."

"Like in our playing days we had formed a team. We were 1 and 2 in the hierarchy. I've some fond memories of Goswami including the Santosh Trophy final that we lost to Services in Calicut that went into extra time," he said.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Apr 30 2020 | 9:20 PM IST

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