Dravid's moment: Let's celebrate it like Holi
Holi was being celebrated all across India. A festival that has a cultural heritage and spontaneity that cuts across every Indian irrespective of their background; it has such a unifying impact. On Thursday afternoon, as the country was celebrating Holi, Breaking News flashed "Dravid to retire"
In an era where cricket is a form of entertainment, Rahul Dravid was an art form. An art form that is so delicate so poised yet so structured. It is an art form where we could see ourselves flowing in that art form. The square cut is played with the bat at 90 degrees, the pull is played with the eyes following the ball perfectly and the cover drive would raze like a bullet with sound from the middle of the bat echoing through the grounds. The beauty of this art form is that it was not erratic, as so often art demands, it was consistent and classy. This was art in its purest form, an art that is executed for the sake of glorifying it, never the person who is executing it. Dravid's technical expertise was so phenomenal because he mastered this art form not because he was god but because he was as normal as you and me.
Being human is at the core of my admiration for Dravid. He is not a genius, he is not "god" of cricket, he is not "god" of offside; he is an ordinary human being who has achieved extraordinary things. In his biography, Dravid shares how he had made crucial sacrifices in life to sustain his cricketing career. His focus was cricket and his efforts were towards mastering the art form. Acknowledging his constraints, he worked tirelessly to cement his place in the Indian team for the best part of the last two decades. Amidst the plethora of flashy stroke makers, Dravid proved his mettle through sheer determination and remarkable work ethic. The process of conquering the art in cricket through humanness is often underplayed and not appreciated.
Today's world demands people to be brash and ruthless to be successful; goodness and grace is often overlooked or looked down upon. In such a time when I was soul searching to look for an individual in this era who was clean, dignified, graceful yet successful, Dravid towered above the rest. He says in his famous Bradman speech "playing at number 3 is a tough job. You have to hold fort to allow the stars to flourish". Having being at No 3 all his cricketing life, he acknowledges that his role is to grind the innings and he does it so effortlessly. By allowing others to flourish, time and again, he has proven that his utmost priority is the collective team and not the individual. Do you want him to keep for the team? Yes, Do you want him to play anywhere in the middle order? Yes, Do you want him to bat with kids who have joined the team just now? Oh yes Do you want him to bat for days and hours? Oh Yes. Dissent is something that you never saw in his face; good decision or bad decision; Dravid took it head on and allowed his frustrations to be out beyond the cricketing field. While winning is something that was deeply ingrained in him, it was his fierce commitment to put dignity and character above winning that has put him on a pedestal beyond the greats of the game.
In no way am I trying to say that there is nothing wrong in Dravid, he would be probably be the first one to counter that view point. He has his flaws and shortcomings, like any other human being. This is precisely why his greatness is so valued for the common man who is as human as he is. He epitomized the fact that one can conquer anything with sheer perseverance and make it an art form. He showed greatness is a manifestation of attitude and not necessarily god given. Most of all, he provides a radiant ray of hope that one can be dignified and classy yet achieve the greatest of things in a given field.
Let's celebrate this moment and not mourn it. Let's celebrate the grace. Let's celebrate the dignity. Let's celebrate the success. Let's celebrate this moment like Holi; it can't be a greater testament to a man who decides to leave like how he played the game: calmly, quietly and with dignity.
More about Sriram Balasubramanian
Sriram Balasubramanian is a Journalist, voracious reader, avid Blogger, social enthusiast and a believer in excellence not mediocrity. With an inherent passion towards journalism and writing, he believes in playing the "Straight Drive" all the time. Besides this, he has a MS in Engineering Management and has played Chess for Singapore.
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