Friday, June 22, 2012

Yes, I met Rahul Dravid !! :)

How I met Rahul Dravid??? After a wait of just 16 years, I met him! I wasn’t sure if it was real or I’m dreaming again! But yes, I did! I met him!

Thanks to CMCA and!

Briefly put: CMCA: Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness had organized this charity event with Harsha Bhogle who, in turn, had invited Rahul S Dravid as the guest. No No, I’m not any Tata, Birla or Ambani to participate in the Auction. had organized a contest on Facebook with the page name: TheGameBox. Thanks to the alerts sent by my 3 brothers Mridul Mittal, Prabhu Damodharan and Suhel Khan, I participated in the contest and won! The event was at Intercontinental The Lalit on Tuesday, June 19th, 2012.

With heart beating at 150, and panic attacks for the whole day, I left for the event with tiny wish to be able to talk to him at least for a minute!

As I reached there, I saw there were biggies and oldies who had come to participate in Auction while some youngsters like me, who had come just to stare at Rahul Dravid. For Auction were Rahul Dravid-autographed jersey, gloves and the bat.

And so it began! Harsha Bhogle graced the dais and without mincing the words, said, “Probably the best human being in Cricket” is here with us: Rahul Dravid.

Looked super handsome in black, Rahul Dravid is never going to grow old, at least looks-wise!

The interview was really good. Mixed with serious issues and funny moments, Harsha Bhogle asked some already “known-answers questions” and some googly stuff too! Rahul like always, played all the questions in the classic Dravid-style! 

Excerpts from Rahul Dravid's interview: (Insert “I mean” wherever you feel like! :P)

Ask him why he is so modest and immediately he replies "accepting that I'm modest negates modesty itself".. 

Q: Most memorable innings? Now who wouldn’t know this! RSD immediately replied Rawalpindi, Adelaide and Eden!

Q: if you had to go in time 15-20 years back, would you choose to play like Sehwag or still be the same Dravid?
A: Who wouldn’t want to play like Viru? Just come there and hit it off! But if I go back in time, I’ll smartly recognize my forte and continue to play what I’m best at. I tried, I tried a lot to play the shots of an opener but I just couldn’t. I have had the privilege of playing with big names of Indian Cricket and in a way, we have balanced and supported each other a lot. That is when we win the games. Viru at 1 end scoring runs everywhere, while me holding the stand at the other end. So ya, that’s about it.

Q: What makes you so disciplined? Since childhood I've been disciplined at almost everything! 

Q: Favorite Indian sportsperson apart from Cricket? Definitely Vishy Anand; that man is a genius.I could never sit at home or in 1 place for so long. I always wanted to go out and play! And I was very bad at carrom and chess was totally not my cup of tea. 

Q: You've never said no to anything; batting at opening position; wicket-keeping; fielding at some positions and so on... How does that come into you?
A: I feel that if I can do anything better for my team, I'll do it. It is a team game and what matters is that we win. A player has to do it. 

Q: What is the biggest asset of playing Cricket?
A: Move on: You have to move on. The game teaches you the same. No matter how many runs you score in your previous match, you'll start at zero in your next match. You have to keep moving. Do not take success, failure, criticism or even praise for long. 

Q: With the advent of T20 Cricket and IPL, do you think Test Cricket is taking a back-seat and may vanish? Are today’s Gen-X players putting a serious thought in the formats of the game? Do you think the amount of money involved in IPL is a reason of concern?
A: T20 is very fast Cricket; For a player like me, it is definitely a threat! *giggles*. Well, money is good. I mean, players getting better returns for their efforts and this can really attract better talent. Meanwhile, it is in their hands to ensure that they play even better for Test and National Teams. Some players don't think so much; some players put in some thoughts and players like me just think too much!

Q: Many of your fans want you on Twitter, any plans to join?
A: I’ve seen many friends of mine addicted to their BBs and tweeting whole day. I personally, don’t like the idea of being engrossed into it. Maybe sometime later, I’ll think about it.

Q: Retirement?
A: Has brought relief! Since last 1 year, i knew its coming close to an end. After the successful tour of England, I wanted the same at Australia too. Unfortunately that didnt happen. After coming back, I took my time to decide. I thought told myself "If in 3 weeks, I don't really miss it, I am done with it. It is all." And so, I decided to retire and did it; and to be honest, I was quite relieved. 

Q: You still go and play club cricket. Any difference do you see considering you have played best international bowlers in your journey?
A: The club cricket is far more relaxed for me. I don’t practice; I don’t stay in gym for hours. I just go there and play. And why not? I have played it for so long and it gives me an opportunity to continue what I have been doing for so long.

Q: Who are the best bowlers you have played?
A: Glenn McGrath (we all know this!) and spinners, Murali and warne! (this too, we knew!)

Q: If not Cricketer, what would you be?
A: Probably an MBA? Harsha, you are an MBA too, seems like an easy option! *laughs* Honestly, I can’t think of anything else and I’m glad it is Cricket.

Q: Would you act if given a chance?
A: No. I am very bad at it. I would not even participate in my class’ house’ section for a role in a class-play. I couldn’t act then, I can’t act now. But I had been a scare-crow once. *laughs*
Q: What next?
A: Commentator? That’ll be a competition to you Harsha. Coach? I’ll think about it. So many options and yes, I’ll select it soon. 

With that, and many more funny questions the interview came to an end. And that also reminded me, the end of the most glorious Cricket period for Team India! Next time, when a wicket falls in a Test match, we won't see The Wall walking in. 16 years! It has been a long journey!

Next came the photo session: I was the third person in line waiting eagerly for my turn. My mind had gone really blank and I had no clue what will be my first words to him! When my turn came, I just rushed to him, shook hands and said a Hi!
Then, I told him my twitter handle and he smiled. I wanted the moment to last forever; I wish some1 had frozen that moment and preserved it in a one percent solution of polyvinyl acetyl resin.

And that’s all that I could tell him. After a minute, I came back to my sense and realized, this was my chance to get an autograph too! Madly asking everyone around for a pen, I finally got a pen from the security guard. Running again to Rahul, I literally begged him to sign the paper. To my shock, he asked me my name! I was blank! But then, subconsciously, I spelt my name and he wrote my name and signed the paper.
I don’t know if I could ask for more! Those 3 minutes were like an eternity and probably the best 3 minutes for this life!

Back home, I spent whole night looking at the pictures and thanking GOD. O share my story, my friends said some beautiful lines! Aarushi Khanna tweeted "The best thing i like about DRAVID is that, he has never demanded for RESPECT,he has EARNED it"
Anurag Rekhi sums it up: Dravid = grit + patience + hardwork + selfless + most importantly, his Character. He's one guy who u want to follow blindly.
To add, the elegance, the charisma, the dedication, remain his unique qualities! Rahul Dravid! 

For me, Yes, I've loved this man since so long; I’ve waited 16 years for that moment; and now, it is treasured in my heart! Forever! So many of my friends were so happy for me and that made this moment even more special. Thank you all for your comments, replies, tweets, likes and messages!

Who else would know it better than my school friends? I made them switch on the TV during tuitions to sneak peek in the game. The first time he entered Lords, many of us had huge questions marks... He looked expressionless; but definitely super handsome than many "stars" around. He knew that he might not get such a chance again. (Destiny had something else in store). 

I just looked at him once: The violins started playing, the air started gushing, the bells started ringing; and till date, they r all still playing around me. Every time I look at this guy, my heart starts thumping; my mind goes numb and all my thoughts go erased. 

His style, his shots and even his sponsors; I started eating jam after that “Jam, Jam, Jammy!” mind you, I am not joking! I made my dad buy only Pepsi for all occasions since, Rahul Dravid was in it. Dad had to use only Gillette products because Rahul used them. I wore only Reebok shoes because…!

The proud moment was when Rahul Dravid was the captain for Team India touring England without the coach. Rahul was the mentor and guide. And we won, 1-0! After long wait of 20 years! So many memories, so many matches, so many runs and so many catches! Rahul Dravid is all that and a lot more! After all, how many players do we know who have been famous for their game and even more famous for gentleman-like life? Sure, many names would have popped up, but, ask a Dravidian what it is to be the devotee and you shall know!

Words fail me beyond this… The lesser I write, the better. Many seniors and experts have written so much about him and it is all true! I may not be able to do the justice. For Rahul Dravid does not need words, he is an experience; to be seen, to be felt and to be lived!

-      A Dravidian for this lifetime! Next life, I know what is destined!