Cricketer K L Rahul’s intimate confessions!
It’s 2pm on a beautiful, gloomy Bengaluru day when cricketer KL Rahul walks into the presidential suite at Courtyard by Marriott to meet a crew that’s a little wary of his possible mood. As we gather our thoughts on how to begin the interview, he picks up the electric kettle and turns to us, smiling. “Anyone else want some coffee?” he asks.
Cool kid on the block
Clearly, there’d be no celebrity tantrum-throwing here, so we relax, and immediately begin the interrogation. What was he like as a child, we demand. He grins. “I was a shy kid, but also very mischievous,” says KL. “Because I looked super innocent, no one could really call me out on my pranks. I was a proper backbencher but the kind of backbencher that doesn’t get caught. My dimples got me out of all trouble.”
It helped that he was the school sports captain: winning prizes every second day does tend to make a boy popular. “But I was a quiet kid, I minded my own business. Both my parents are teachers and while they were always cool with what I did, they never let me take my education lightly. ‘Bas naak mat kataana humari!’” he laughs.
F for Fitness
Since life has always been about sport and adventure for the 26-year-old, fitness was always on his mind. “Earlier, my fitness quotient was about playing all sports. I lived by the sea so I would play football for hours and then jump straight into the sea and swim for some time. That in itself is great for fitness,” he says.
That’s why KL emphasises sports for kids rather than gym training. “When kids are 15 or 16, they should be playing more sports. I played football, basketball, cricket… Name any sport and I played it. When I was 18 and took up fitness seriously, I was already athletic and could pick up anything. So first, focus on being athletic and then go to the gym,” he advises.
He also advises that when it comes to working out, less is more. “Fitness is also about being well-rested, eating well etc.
Earlier I felt that I would make it big in my career only by working out, but a couple of injuries changed my concept of fitness,” he confesses.
The stylish choice
KL’s style game is on point, which, thanks to his Instagram account, we analysed before he confesses to his Gucci obsession. “The first time I walked into a Gucci store was six months ago in South Africa and ever since, I’ve been buying shoes from Gucci every second month,” he laughs.
He is into fashion, he admits openly. “Once I graduated from college, I realised, when I liked a few girls, that I need to dress well,” he says. “David Beckham was always my style icon. His tattoos and his style were always impressive. I wasn’t really big on brands, but of late I’ve been getting my clothes made by Troy Costa. He understands my style, my body and who I am as a person.
“Thanks to social media, you know what’s in and what’s not. And since I travel so much because of cricket, it’s easier to know what’s fashionable in different countries,” he says.
The reluctant feminist
While KL is all for respecting women and their ambitions, he prefers avoiding the word ‘feminist’. “I’ve never really gotten the meaning of feminism, honestly. The dictionary meaning of it is one thing, but how people portray it sometimes is different. I am for equality, but not the kind of feminism that is about looking down on men or taking over men,” he candidly states.
After a fair amount of mingling in Bollywood, fashion and the cricket industry, KL hopes that the #MeToo movement picks up in India soon. “I know the younger generation thinks differently. We have gotten to a point where we don’t care about what people say anymore. I think what we need to change is the generational old school thought,” he says.
And he’s thrilled that India has finally understood the importance of women in sports. “What they do is as good as what we do, and the respect they’re getting now is making them more confident. Confidence is the key for any sportsperson and now a lot more people are watching the games and looking up to them, which is great. It will do a world of good for our country,” he smiles.
The dating life of KL Rahul
Amidst sticky questions about love, sex and relationships (see box), a request for reverse chivalry catches our attention. “People always ask what is the most romantic thing I’d do for a girl, but what about what someone does for me? I want someone to ask me out, pick me up for a date, bring flowers, I want to be wooed. Men are also suckers for romance, not just women. And I am a sucker for compliments!” he says.
And what about guys who hit on him? “Earlier I used to freak out. I didn’t know how to respond! But now I am more comfortable, so I respond as I would to my female fans,” he smiles.
15 fun questions with KL!
Would you miss a boys’ night out for a formal dinner date?
Nobody likes to miss a boys’ night. But if I’ve made a promise, I would keep it.
Your Tinder profile would read…
Cricketer. Traveller. Swipe right and have a great time.
Would you choose looks over brain or brain over looks?
I’ll be honest. I have been choosing looks over brain. Not anymore though.
Your break up remedy…
I usually travel a lot and eventually forget about it.
Are you pro-marriage or a commitment phobic millennial?
A commitment-phobic millennial.
Who was your first crush?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. She’s also from Mangalore.
When did you start dating?
I was in Class 7. I dated this girl for three years but I wouldn’t really call it dating. I was so young! It was like puppy love.
Craziest pick-up line a girl has used on you?
A girl slipped her number to me once (laughs).
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done on a date?
I showed up an hour late once.
Are you into PDA (public display of affection)?
Not at all. It’s got to be private, ya.
Do you like old-school romance or a cheesy social media love affair?
Old school romance.
Three qualities you look for in a woman…
A great sense of humour, humility and confidence.
Would you ever miss your training for girl?
What do you think a woman should wear to bed?
Nothing! (Oh, my mom would be reading this, so let me change the answer). A woman should wear whatever she is comfortable wearing to bed…
What would you say to a woman who complimented your bottom?
I would say, ‘Thanks, would you like to come home with me?’
From HT Brunch, June 17, 2018
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