Monday, June 20, 2011

A man beyond numbers; beyond words: Rahul Dravid

Salt and pepper hair crown his temples. A bright young face is now a more matured one, with wrinkles peeping in from here and there, indicating an obvious passage of time. Jitters and butterflies in the stomach have now been replaced by an aura exuding confidence, and the reckoning of a challenge accepted. The young lad has grown into a man; a legend; a hero. My hero; our hero; a nation’s hero. A sport's hero.

15 years. 12,000 + runs. 31 centuries. 58 half centuries. Judge him by the numbers, and he’s undoubtedly one of the best cricketers the game has ever seen. But, the man, the hero, is beyond these figures. He’s beyond statistics, for they are just numbers. And numbers, just don’t seem to excite the legend. Along the years, we, his fans have celebrated every milestone crossed, broken into an impromptu jig everytime he’s belted that once-in-a-blue-moon sixer, swayed in a mini Mexican wave from where ever we are when he crafts his artistic shots. But, we’ve also learnt from him; adopted his philosophy as our own; understood that every achievement is a record, yet is only a number, a figure that might go down in history, but will not remain there forever.

Even as he approaches yet another milestone in his glittering career, his fans are clear about one thing – that today isn’t the day to celebrate what has happened over the past 15 years. It is the moment to cash in glory for the performance in the match that is coming our way. Chests swelled with pride, heads high, shoulders firm, for its been a decade and a half of impeccable cricket; a career articulately painted with blissful strokes, rock solid defense, an enviable temperament, and a kitty full of records. But are these the only things that define him?

Not really. He’s a man whose positive vibes have transcended the boundaries of the stadium. Humility, dedication, a clinical approach to his game: attributes that are rare to find in the breed of the younger cricketers in the team. He’s motivated his fans to think like him, approach every crisis-ridden situation with a calm and eased-out mind. Maturity; a slow yet steady graph that began its journey from mediocrity to scale the peaks of excellence; the hunger to perform; the passion to drive the team home; the ability to take charge of unfavourable situations; the guts to put team before self – these are the things that define the man, the hero.

While totally unrelated to this post, he might have a million fans, and I might not be the craziest or biggest of them all, but all I want to convey through this post is that I admire him a lot. He’s inspired me in every walk of my life, and I’ve tried imbibing his thought process – of taking criticism with a pinch of salt, of fighting till the end, and of being a team player. I do not know whether he will ever read this, or even know that someone called Parvathy Gopalakrishnan even exists, but all I know is that fifteen years, and counting, one thing has been consistent in my life – the man, the sport, the prayers, the well wishes, the heart-in-my-mouth and the ‘yes, we’ve done it bhai!’ moments.

Here’s taking a bow to my hero: Rahul ‘Mr Consistent’ Dravid! :)