When I found that many are cutting short the three-day conference to two days and getting back home earlier, I was upset .. Upset because I prioritized the third day at the conference over my little one’s annual music day at school. I still could have done a replanning - aversion to last-minute replanning, late nights at airports and to some extent my laziness overtook (I also had an iota of sincerity quotient towards participating in the conference) – I decided to continue on the thrid day.
It was still haunting to remember that expectant voice and little face “amma, can you come on Friday morning atleast for the music day?”. I decided I need to give my little one something which will to some extent compensate my absence. It struck me then that I can take something which is unique - an autography from his favorite cricketer Rahul Dravid - it is almost two years since the little one got Dravid’s autograph on a two-inch paper and I was impressed by this cricketer. Rahul exhibited that he is a true hero - read the detail here.
So, I had updated my colleagues that I am going to manage to get Rahul Dravid’s autograph during the valedictory session on the third day - while I was extremely aware that it is a formal forum and I may look a bit out-of-place asking for his autograph, I was encouraged by my desire to compensate my absence on my little one’s school day back at home - ofcourse, there were other colleagues who really were fans of Dravid’s cricket skills unlike me who were also planning to take a picture or an autograph from him
I literally grabbed the opportunity when Rahul was waiting at the first row corner to get into the stage - I dashed to him with a notebook and pen and showed this notebook telling in a low voice that it is for my son and his name his karthik - I saw a momentary shock on his face and also probably some irritation (when he is focussing to get to the stage in an official forum, sure he did not expect this!) - that was just momentary - he took the pen, wrote my son’s name and gave his autograph. A minute and it was all done - true hero obliging to his fan’s request.
His session started and I was once again in for surprise - his humble nature and the ability to laugh at himself were quickly taking up the audience by fire. While you can watch the video here
Few quotes which captured my attention are
- Aggression is a mind thing
- Stay at the cocoon of the moment and do it again and again and again – ability to put your mind to the moment needs skill
- Cricket somehow brings you down to the earth – all of us are hardwired to deal with failure
- Emotional energy which is lost due to failure is very important to deal and then get back
- Coming second to Sachin or Laxman is NOT such a bad thing. Coming second to someone mediocre is something bad
- Few things I ticked before a match – : physical fitness, technical capability, mental routines, and emotional energy
- Great teams are built on great bowling attacks
- If u got the bowler’s angry, then u r closer to winning – anger takes away focus
My surprise indeed continued when i saw him in the same flight back home - in the economy section, two seats in front of me…again being that same humble, polite, wanting to establish that feeling of “I am one among all of you!” - still accommodating the fans who were asking for an autograph or a picture with him - through the flight, on the ground near the baggage collection area - ofcourse, I was satisfied with the elaborate autograph for the little one which I got in the evening!!
Once again, it was witnessing the real hero - is it just being humble OR is it being Rahul Dravid - looks like it is Humble and being Rahul Dravid!!
When I follow cricket as a news and live my life with two ardent cricket fans, it is inevitable I know Yuvraj to some extent - I identify his name with these adjectives – young, energetic, loving son to his parents, raring to make more of life and cricket………… and ofcourse, he is known in the Bollywood circuits also!
It was such a shocking piece of news when I heard it – ” Yuvraj has Cancer”
Knowing as much (actually, as little) as I know about Yuvraj and his family with my as much knowledge about the “big C” disease, I can certainly empathize with what he and his family are going through. While it makes it challenging for anyone to go through the deadly big ‘C’, it is even more challenging to be in the prime of your life and being knocked down by this big C for no fault of his! Especially, knowing how his mother will be feeling now…………….I was really sad. While I completely appreciate the philosophical “Life is just a journey”, this news still left me with an uncomfortable feeling.
And today morning, I was looking into Yahoo news and this is the link I got…………….the Cricket Vs Cancer ………made me feel positive and hope that for Yuvraj, the ONLY big C in his life will be the C in Cricket - if all the cricket fans and their family across the world can wish him and support him with their prayers for a minute - there definitely will be a miracle.
So, here is the wishing from me and the sincere hopes - “Yuvraj, Yes! You Can!” !! The Big C in your life is ONLY the BIG Cricket!
Join me in taking this HOPE statement (Yuvraj, Yes You Can!) across the globe to Boston!
I am so close to be qualified as an atheist if you consider cricket as an Indian religion. I watch cricket for the sake of news because every
other Indian guy follows cricket - after the IPL era, cricketers have become equal to movie stars - figuring in page 3 gossip columns and endorsing all possible FMCG products.
I should say I showed a little more interest in cricket (still continuing to be an atheist, though) in the past few years, especially after my little one’s initiative to induct me into the cricket religion - I even witnessed IPL matches in the Chinnaswamy stadium (more of a family outing?! I also wore a red dress to support the RCB!) and started following the schedules – more to ensure the little one’s morning schedules to school are protected from watching late night matches! Often spotting Kumble and Dravid at school was another dimension.
I think this background is enough to establish my level of interest in cricket…………..
Couple of weeks back, on one of those occasional thinking aloud sessions (sometimes i just talk what is going in my mind), I said that to compensate for my missed walking sessions, I should be doing some alternate physical activity………listening to this, my little one suggested that I play cricket with him at home - oh, the home cricket is more of a batting practice session where he keeps hitting a ball which is tied on a rope from the roof…. - when I said I do not know cricket, he also very enthusiastically offered to teach me. the only condition is that I will be assessed regularly on my cricketing skills. I agreed.
My first class was couple of days back - I was in for a surprise on the technical stuff which an 8-year-old can churn out about cricket - it started with a lesson to me that cricket first needs INTEREST . Then came the importance to AIM, POWER with which to hit the ball, PLACEMENT, TIMING, CONCENTRATION, how to STRATEGIZE (I could only gape!!), REACTION, SHOTS LEG SIDE, SHOTS OFF SIDE. And there were tips - to remember leg side is your left side, think that both starts with “L”, and the off side is other side and they both start with “O”. I was given all types of balls and all types of instructions - “spin, googly……” ” hit on the leg side, assume there are three fielders in the slip, etc………etc……..”. After half an hour of intense coaching, we finished the class.
Being a long weekend, we were at home yesterday enjoying the lazy Bangalore weather………..and suddenly the little one announces the test - first sem first exam - on what i was coached in cricket. It was a 15 minute session and I was tested in what I was taught and then graded…………see the grading paper (ignore the spelling mistakes!). I was thrilled that I got a lot of As in my grade sheet………..but my little one responded……..”You have to improve. this is a preliminary test and you should get all A+”…….
I was mulling over this and was surprised that these exactly are the leadership qualities which are required in any individual!!! My scores in the sheet here replicated below for clarity
SEM 1, EX 1 (read as semester 1, exam 1)
Interest B , Aim A+, Power A+, Placement A, Timing A, concentration A, leaving balls A, reaction A, shots leg side A, shots offside C.
So, how do you think i fared??!!!!
- Cricket lessons – for leadership (ireach.wordpress.com)
I almost got used to the fact that Cricket and my 8-year-old are inseparable. But a recent conversation between us sealed this fact.
“Do you know what I want to become when I become big?” - this is how the conversation started. I continue my house chores and ask absent-mindedly “what?”. It is not that I am not interested about my kids future plans, but being a veteran parent, I knew by this time that these plans keep changing every summer / fall and is cyclical. I have heard things like “I want to be an astronaut” and also something like “ I want to be just a normal father/mother”.
While I heard “I want to be a cricket umpire!!!”, I dropped my chores and was surprised. This is something new….given the cricket crazy kid, I would have expected something like “I want to become a batsman, leg spinner….” - “I want to become an umpire” was a googly to me!!.
So, I asked with bewilderment “ Umpire? Why?”.
The little one recites “ See, if you are an umpire, you will never get hurt frequently like the players and you can be always be part of cricket matches. Also, the best position to watch a match is the umpiring position”
I was floored - call it Cricket Crazy nation !!!!! I can vouch that cricket gets into the system of our little ones when they are in the wombs!
- Cricket lessons – for leadership (ireach.wordpress.com)
Dear Mr. Dravid
It has been on the back of my mind to write this note for the past two weeks, but I could make it only today.
My kids apparently happen to attend the same school as your kid. In the last couple of years, of the many days I had been to school to drop or pickup my kid, I have seen you quite often in the school – you were also visiting school to drop / pickup your kid.
The very first day when I spotted you – you were giving me a feel that you only wanted to be considered as ‘yet another’ parent coming to the school to drop/pickup his kid. You were almost hiding behind a parked car, trying to avoid any eye contact with the small crowd of parents who were waiting there. I was actually amused to note that an international sports personality like you was looking uncomfortable in the very small crowd – maybe it was just my perception, but you were trying to keep to yourself.
In the following days, being a hardcore cricket fan, my spouse was excited to spot you in school and promptly update us back home – I was surprised that you were much more frequent to school than I was. Even with my kind of IT senior management position(may be every other Bangalore engineer in his/her 40s today are in a similar position), I really have to squeeze my schedule to make it to school and let me tell you, I was not all that frequent to school even then. With your kind of international profile which has lot of travel and commitments, you probably are more consistent in your school visits was my conclusion.
Given that I just follow cricket as part of general news interest, I did not give much of a thought about your school visits beyond this. Then I suddenly realized that my spouse was more enthusiastic about dropping our kid to school for the simple reason that the international cricketer can be seen in school. Again, I was so surprised that seeing you in the morning almost made my spouse’s day so bright. Infact, I was again thinking that one of the days when I see you, I need to come to you and say THANK YOU - as you were one of the reasons to bring happiness into the day. Of course, I never made it as I was as lazy as anyone can get in translating a thought into action.
Slowly, at the end of first year I found you have made friends with some parents and was more comfortable making small conversations in a small group. I felt good for you because I thought being a celebrity definitely cribs some freedom which a common individual takes for granted.
In the last couple of years, my kid grew and was becoming much more obsessed with cricket than what I can imagine for a kid of his age. He has started watching sports channels on TV for hours together – replay of past cricket matches. He is with his cricket bat all the time and was out with friends for hours playing cricket – I was amazed on how cricket (probably any game) can mould the character of a 7 year old kid.
As the IPL season started this year, my kids ware all over it. It was IPL, IPL all day long, on all days of the week. The school was almost ending. I had to be more frequent to school. And couple of days I saw you being in the crowd of parents waiting to pick your kid. Again, I was surprised that you could make it to school even in-between the IPL season.
It was one such strenuous day,29th March – drop the kid in the morning to school, go to office, finish some of the review meetings, keep looking at the watch and dash back to school by noon to pick up the kid. I was delayed that day. When I reached school, parents have already picked up their kids and on the way back. I was rushing into the gate and I saw you coming out of the school gate in a bright red T-shirt with your kid, making serious conversations about how the day was. I could not stop thinking even in my hurry that you indeed are putting in your efforts as a good parent – and I vaguely could remember that you have an impending match in two days in a different city. I thought “this guy should be a sincere guy – doing his best as a parent”.
And then I get into the school, expecting my kid to be upset over my delay. And I was in for a surprise !!! The moment he spotted me – he came running to me. I could see he was so thrilled and happy about something. I waited for him to break the news. He said “Dravid was in school today. Look here, I got his autograph.” He started opening his school bag and started pulling out his pencil box. I realized suddenly that he never had any notebook with him to get an autograph (it was a class monthly review day and no notebooks) and so I asked him “where did you get the autograph?” By this time, he has pulled out his pencil box. He opens it and takes a piece of paper which is just 2 inches, a hurriedly torn corner of a page. I could see the pencil signature of yours in that piece of paper and I was STUNNED on two counts. One - that my kid (a first grader) can suddenly become so confident to approach you to get an autograph and Two – you obliged to sign with a pencil in a 2” torn paper.
I started all the questions “How many of you got his autograph? Why did you not get a bigger paper? What did Dravid say to you?” My kid was all proud and with his head high, he answers “only few of us, we did not make a queue; I just jumped near him and got his signature. I did not have any notebook and I borrowed this paper from my friend. “. I again ask him – “What did Dravid say to you?”. He said as a matter of fact, with his head high still “Guys, give me a bigger paper, it is very difficult to sign in small paper with a short pencil”!!
I was impressed…. by your simplicity. Honestly, till then I had never given much of a thought about you than the time I see you in school, but this gesture from you definitely made me realize that you indeed are a hero in the true sense – just not only as a role model cricketer for the millions across India, but as a sincere parent to your kids and as a sincere obliging “down to earth” individual who wants to respect the wish of even a 7 year old kid.
My kid is going to cherish this autograph of yours in a 2 inch paper for the rest of his life and I am going to constantly endeavor to imbibe this simplicity and sincerity of yours in my life! Kudos to you! You are a real life hero even outside your cricket!!
(I could have shared my appreciation in person when the next school term starts, but I honestly respect your personal space as a parent)
I know it is the IPL time of the year and it is absolutely normal that it is cricket rain all over………………..But, for a non cricket person like me……. it has been an unbelievably CRICKETY week ………
The first one is the chance viewing of the movie DIL BOLE HADIAPPA……..It was a sunday night……i just was toying with the TV remote before hitting the bed…….jumping from one channel to another…….not really interested in anything………and then, i see the cute RANI MUKHERJEE…..and i end up in front of the TV till 1 am……..
the movie was a mix of right masala ingredients……..the ubersexual hero from UK……. the lovely, innocent, colorful ’punjabi gudi’ of the soil…….passion of cricket…………..combined with the peaceful sunday night (weekly chores are all accomplished and kids are already asleep)………..the quiet ambience at home……..!!
Cricket made the movie more lively for me……!!!
The next day…….i have an easy monday evening..i am early from the dentist appointment, than what i had planned…..i almost had an hour before anyone at home is going to miss me………..
I decide to check on my little one, who was playing cricket in the badminton court (!) ……i spot him …….very busy playing cricket….only difference was it was not his usual group of friends, but senior boys……10 to 11 years old….i was bit concerned that he was not with his usual group and decide to sit through their match………..
Believe me, i spent the next one hour engrossed in their game……..not that i followed their runs or wickets………i was absolutely awed by the team spirit the kids exhibited……….or, whether they just impersonate the real world cricket players on the field?……….i will never know…..but, it was an unique experience to watch them …….play seriously…….each one doing their role perfectly……..clapping the hands when a bowler ended a maiden over, giving hifi after a sixer, patting on the back……
when my little one took two wickets in a row, the eldest boy came running to him and pats him on his back and quips ” Awesome, baby!! you are on a hat trick!!”…………….i just could not stop smiling…….if i think of it, i could feel that more than the skill on cricket, the young ones are definitely picking up much more cues on leadership skills and team bonding…………
again, i never thought i am going to be absorbed into cricket like this!!
probably time to check with my kids on the IPL schedule!!