My Name is Rahul But I am not a Gandhi

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in fact I am grateful for that. Born into a simple middle class family with middle class moral values I was able to withstand the caustic mix of celebrity adulation, hero worship and harsh criticism. One day I was the wall that stood strong and tall and the next day I was a symbol of a lone brick wall falling apart.

I remember someone somewhere wrote that I am the calmest fish in a mad pond. Trash talk and theatrics have never been my forte. I didn’t roll up my sleeves or tear apart newspapers when people who have expert opinions on everything (right from Russia’s foreign policy to how to lift toilet seat) discussed about my run rate, fielding, captaincy, retirement and of course my “gutless” attitude when it came to Greg Chappell.

 

On my debut test at Lords I was 5 runs away from scoring my maiden century. I was dismissed by Lewis – but it was not noticed by the umpire. However I walked…walked back to the pavilion because I knew that was the right thing to do. I raised my bat to the audience who gave me a standing ovation. That was the simple thing to do and I have always believed in simplicity.

In life I try my best to avoid 2 Rs – Resentment and Retaliation. It was a match against SA in Johannesburg February 1997 when I hit Alan Donald for 6 over long on and he came up to me all deranged and annoyed saying “I will kill you. Don’t f*** with me….” My reaction, no I didn’t show my middle finger to him.

Instead I calmly said “Take me on Donald. Let’s see what you got.”

Some say that I did not get the attention that I really deserved…some feel that I was overshadowed by Tendulkar’s genius, Ganguly’s charisma, Sehwag’s braveness and Laxman’s elegance. If you ask me I would say none of these talks really mattered. Be it my first test match where I scored 95 and 84 ( in both the matches) and Ganguly who incidentally was also playing his first test scored centuries in both the matches or the match in Kolkata 2001, where Laxman made 281 and I scored 180 – people say that I was seen as the second fiddle!! But it didn’t matter to me because we’d won the matches.

As I told earlier I am not a big fan of theatrics which is probably why many see me as boring. Yes, I never took off my shirt and waved at the crowds after winning a match…when I scored century I just raised my bat…I have never used the F word in the field …I didn’t ogle at girls who came to me for autographs… in a nutshell I was and am not someone from whom the media would get selling headlines or snaps.

I read somewhere that I was very popular with girls -from wallflowers to wildflowers. I remember a young girl came to me once asking for an interview then later proposing marriage. I was baffled and asked her dad (who was accompanying her and mistook me for Sachin) to make her concentrate on studies and not on marrying cricketers. Later I realized that I was an MTV Bakra.

Besides that incident I don’t remember meeting any crazy female fan…you know those who slash their wrists, or write blood letters. Thank God for that! Also, there was this story that I was dating Raveena Tandon did rounds in late 90s. I saw my name on the cover of Stardust…I wonder they must be still wondering what happened between us!!

P.S. – This post is not written by Rahul Dravid.

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