It is the start which has always been difficult when it came to writing anything, on this blog. Much of what I’d written previously had been, to borrow a phrase Kamal Hassan used to describe his ordinary movies, “to keep the meter ticking”. In his case there was a career to feed, in this blog’s case it was a hope that something would happen to a rather aimless career because of it. Something did happen even though the career still is aimless. The one major job I landed was apparently because of my communication skills. I tend to agree, for some of the best writing I’ve done is what is, in some circles, called technical banter.
It’s the start which is difficult, here too, as I search for words to throw my hat in the ring, writing about Rahul Dravid. The “search for words” may not be so difficult if I hadn’t also had to search for something fresh to write about. I can find nothing fresh, either through lexical merit or anecdotal experience. The former, I don’t pretend to have, and the latter, there is little memory of. I must have seen the man many times on a cricket field, walked past him, smiled at him (only once did I manage a, “Hi Rahul”, to which he had replied with, “Hey, hi”), sat across a breakfast room at some overseas hotel, travelled in the same flight or even joined an anonymous group of people getting taken a photograph with him. But there’s nothing new to write unless I can lie through the keyboard.
The thought did cross my mind that there was actually no need to revive the blog if there wasn’t anything to write; there wasn’t a deadline to meet. But then, this is Rahul Dravid, a player who an entire family would support, like the U-certified film to Tendulkar’s U/A and Ganguly’s A. Some relatives have been phoning in saying how his retirement has been a cause for “mood-out”, when if you consider the fact that the next Test was after June and he is anyway playing the IPL, they will miss nothing for the immediate 4 months.
Personally, I had lost track of much of what he had done in recent times, say after his Jamaica masterclass in 2006. There was a 93 at Perth and a century at Mohali (which I might have worked on) and of course the three hundreds last year in England. But then, what happened in between all this, is completely missing from memory. Few pointers might jog it, but the photographic part is reserved for such inane flashbacks as his run-out in Singapore in his debut series (boys in Bangalore were convinced it was Sachin’s ploy to keep him out of the team as he would effectively replace Vinod Kambli). Or the banner in the 1996 World Cup in the quarter-final against Pakistan, which read, “Where is Dravid”, an inquiring note from his home fans to selectors who hadn’t picked the promising Karnataka batsman.
Perhaps the best memory is of reading the morning newspaper to check on how he was progressing in the practice games before the Tests in England in ’96. Just for the fact that you’ll never read the newspaper that way again, it is a memory which shouldn’t fade. There is enough basis here to now answer the earlier question of why write when there is nothing much to write?
I’ve easily spent more time on cricket than I have on anything else. It seems natural now that all the career I’ve had or all the money I’ve earned is also because of the sport. People like Rahul Dravid are amongst the few reasons I followed it. More so in his case as he started when the fever was at its peak. There will be other batsmen who’ll take his place, and perhaps score more runs than him. But none of them would bother me so much that I’d long for the newspaper to check their scores.
One supposes there are potentially two more such articles some months from now, well, at least one, definitely. I plan to hopefully get a big, old, medium format camera before this IPL and take some pictures on the ground. If I do go to Jaipur, I know whose picture to shoot.