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Hometown showers love on The Wall

IT WAS undoubtedly a moment of elation even for one not bitten by the cricket bug but was present at the public felicitation of Rahul Dravid, the Indian cricket hero.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2006 14:57 IST

IT WAS undoubtedly a moment of elation even for one not bitten by the cricket bug but was present at the public felicitation of Rahul Dravid, the Indian cricket hero.

For Rahul too it must have been an unforgettable hour at the closing of the day. Captain of the winning Team India who is here to play in the India England final one-dayer gave a public appearance at Ravindra Natyagriha on Thursday. This off-the-pitch event was organized by Sanand and attended by a house packed with cricket crazy audience of youngsters in teens and past fifties, and boy, with their euphoria did they rock the auditorium like a stadium!

In an event that went by clockwork precision, our boy entered smack on time. Rahul who is born in Indore was just the boy next door - shy, youthful acne faced and quite taken by surprise to find himself suddenly in the midst of hollering but disciplined crowd.

Apparently overwhelmed by the warm welcome, characteristically Indorean and traditional, replete with a ritualistic Aarti by a bevy of women clad in nine yard Marathi saris. The high point of the felicitation was donning of a Holkarian Angarkha-shela and a befitting pagri. Amidst the chanting of mantras it was no less grandiose than the coronation of the prince of millions of hearts returning to his foster hometown.

It was in Indore that he spent his childhood days and acquired the taste for the game. He visited Indore every summer, had his buddies here and fondly remembered the hullabaloo they had on the guava tress. In an impromptu interview on stage he revealed to Indoreans that it was in 1983, when he watched India win the historical World Cup match in Indore that he decided to go for cricket.

He celebrated India’s victory in typically Indorean style with an ice-cream treat in Sarafa. He was barely a 10-year lad then.

While the audience was cheering every time the name Rahul was uttered, flabbergasted yet composed he spoke candidly living up to everybody’s image of a straight at heart favourite. Now as we know that he held a first class academic record, he made it clear to the wannabe cricketers that while in school studies came first; no good marks - no cricket, was the unspoken rule at home.

In a strictly limited hour programme where every minute counted, Rahul willingly gave half an hour extra. Dr Maya Ingle, the interviewer asked some very pointed questions and with equally frank replies Rahul satisfied every fan of his regarding his game, aspirations, and views on contemporaries including his private life.

He volunteered that Indian fans are the greatest fans in the world, and while he proclaimed that he was proud of Indore; Rahul, you’ll experience that when it comes to admiration, Indore will surpass them all.