What should we call him?
The Wall? For the protection he offers to our middle order gods?
The 'Away man', for his prowess in foreign conditions?
All the titles are cliched...and while each define him to an extent, none hold up the spirit of Rahul Dravid fully.
Last night I was chatting with a friend, another Dravid fan, who was despairing at the state of affairs in the country, especially corruption and mafia threats. In particular, the murder of IPS officer Singh by the mafia - and the silence of media and FB alike to the incident.
These words came out spontaneously:
"....be steely, be patient, be focussed on the gains to be made, bite your lips and let go of everything but hope for the side you stand for...be Dravid.
For this is a long term, multi-generation away match we are playing.....the game called 'maturing of a people'."
I wasn't trying to chalk up a Dravid tribute then; but even if I did I could not have thought of a better tribute for Rahul Dravid than suggesting that we take inspiration from his powers of long-term adherence to a tough task, and demonstrate the same Dravid-ian traits as Indian citizens in not giving up on this country's slowly but surely improving future.
Like a famous dialogue in the movie 'Sarkar', Dravid is no more just a cricketer.
Dravid is a 'soch' i.e ideology..an ideology to handle and live through tough situations with determination and humility.
[pic courtesy: www.espncricinfo.com]
Links to some tributes to Dravid on his first class retirement:
a) cricinfo stats tribute for Indian cricket's MVP away from home: http://www.espncricinfo.com/
[his average in matches won by India: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/28114.html?class=1;result=1;spanmax1=23+Sep+2010;spanval1=span;template=results;type=allround ]
b) Siddhartha Vaidyanathan's unforgettable blogpost on Dravid's retirement: http://
c) Harsha Bhogle's tribute: http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/556769.html
d) Sameer Chopra's personal account of the 'other side of the ever-courteous Wall': http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/
e) Mrs. Vijeeta Dravid on "her husband, the perfectionist": http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/556979.html
f) Mukul Kesavan on how 'defence was the best offence' for Dravid: http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/556801.html
g) cricinfo's "Dravid test": http://pavilionview.blogspot.in/2012/03/take-dravid-test.html
h) Dravid's statistical worth vis-a-vis other greats (Anantha Narayanan's analysis of batsmen by pitch / bowler worth): http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/itfigures/archives/2012/03/batsman_by_bowler_pitch_qualit.php
i) Ganguly on Dravid retirement: http://cricket.yahoo.com/news/rahul-s-experience-should-be-utilised--sourav-ganguly.html
j) the Dravidian Era (in pix): http://cricket.yahoo.com/photos/the-dravidian-era-slideshow/the-dravidian-era-photo-1331270575.html & http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/17299331
k) Dravid's career in pix (cricinfo): http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/gallery/556655.html
l) Dravid Interview, when he announced retirement: http://www.dailypioneer.com/home/online-channel/top-story/48424-dravid-walks-into-international-cricket-sunset.html
m) Others' tributes to Dravid on his retirement: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/17310407
n) Cricket writers on Rahul Dravid: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-17309801
o) Dravid's Bradman Oration: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-16212952
p) Gen-Y Indian batsmen on Dravid: http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/556948.html
q) Akash Chopra on the constantly evolving game of Rahul Dravid: http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/557698.html
r) Keki Tarapore (Dravid's coach from early days) about Dravid: http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/story/103543.html
s) Eight of Dravid's best: http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/556798.html
t) A special tribute from Kent ex-colleague, Ed Smith: http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/557122.html
u) Dravid's Bradman Oration, 2011 (youtube video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt7fFVKmt60
v) Dravid - Reassurance is a virtue: http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/NFKxzkwZTmKRCavKv7wjSI/Rahul-Dravid-The-gift-of-reassurance.html
w) Youtube tributes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFFdakyzxOY , "Eye of the Tiger" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54CBD3DkG40 , Corporate India meets the Corporate Cricketer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctKTtXr50-Y
x) Dravid pages: http://cricket.yahoo.com/_specials/rahuldravid/ ; http://www.dravidthewall.com/ ; http://www.rediff.com/cricket/rahul-dravid-retires-2012.html