When one of the legends of the game walks up to you and says 'I wish I had a son like yours', it's the ultimate compliment any parent can dream of. That is what Sharad and Pushpa Dravid were told by the former England batting great, the late Colin Cowdrey, over tea when they had gone to visit Rahul during his time as a professional at Kent.
The Dravids are averse to using the term 'proud parents'. "I would say we are happy and satisfied. We are lucky to have been blessed with a son like Rahul," says a content Dravid Sr, while relaxing at his house in Bangalore.
"I still remember his debut, it was my most memorable moment," 77-year-old Sharad Dravid, who retired as a General Manager at Kissan products, recalls.
"I see all his matches on TV and generally record his innings," he adds.
Studies and sport
"The important thing was he balanced studies and sport. He was good at athletics, football, badminton, hockey also and represented school in all of them. But, he always got first-class. If he was not practising, he would immediately get back to the classes, so the school principal never had a problem in giving him permission to pursue sports," says mother Pushpa.
One of the cherished memories for the Dravids was the day their son was named India captain. "To captain your country is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," they gleamed.
The captaincy period was the toughest in their son's otherwise glorious career. The severe backlash following India's early exit at the 2007 World Cup was the low point.
"He has a strong will power. Some people were making noises, but we didn't pay much attention," adds Dravid Sr.
"One feels bad that they lost at that World Cup, but I am happy he continued as captain. Because normally anyone would have just left captaincy saying, 'I don't want to play anymore', but he did not do that and helped the team win their first series in England (2007) since 1986."
Taken by surprise
Rahul made a strong comeback as a captain but surprised everyone by suddenly quitting. "He didn't even tell me the reasons. Before leaving for Delhi (to meet then BCCI president Sharad Pawar) he casually said, 'I'm leaving captaincy'. It did surprise me. I told him 'you are on top, why are you doing it?' I did not want him to leave it (at that stage) as he was doing well but maybe he wanted to concentrate on his batting," he adds.
Dravid's patient approach has saved India from the clutches of defeat and also won them many matches. The secret to his patience lies in his genes.
"One important quality he has taken from his mother is patience. He has loads of it. As a painter, she needs a lot of patience and it also reflects in Rahul's game," says Dravid Sr.