Rahul In College - Rahul Dravids remarkable ability to compartmen

Rahul In College

- By Vedam Jaishankar

Rahul Dravid's remarkable ability to compartmentalise his quest for excellence in two different spheres was, perhaps, a talent he inherited from his mother Pushpa. She handled two post graduation courses simultaneously during her student days and later pursued a doctorate in art and conducted numerous exhibitions even as she taught in an engineering college. It was a trait that Rahul picked up very early.

Indeed Rahul's academic excellence has seldom been talked or written about even as his cricketing acumen has received widespread attention. Father Eugene Lobo, his principal at St Joseph's College of Commerce, currently with St. Aloysius in Mangalore, spoke enthusiastically of Rahul's stay in the college.

"He was intellectually very good. All the teachers liked him a lot. Although we were a co-educational college with 30 to 35 per cent girls in each class, Rahul never allowed that to sidetrack him from his pursuit of academic or cricketing excellence,'' said Fr. Lobo.

Harbhajan Singh

A role model

In fact an interesting aside to this came from Fazal Khaleel: "we were studying in II PUC (pre-university college, equivalent of 12th standard) and had a class party at a friend's place. The whole class was coming to the party. We had also invited some other girls. It was the first party we were having with lots of girls around. Naturally we were all excited. Rahul badly wanted to come to the party. Now these were day parties, during class hours (when parents thought the students were at class rather than partying). But Rahul also had a BUCC (KSCA senior division league club team) game that day. He wanted to be at the party and we all tried to get him to skip the match. However on the morning of the party he called me up and said he was going to play the match instead. He was so torn by the urge to be at the party and his love for cricket that he said he would catch up with me in the evening and wring all the details of the party out of me.''

That year, Rahul stood second in the whole college in accountancy and third overall.

"Rahul's great gift was to absorb everything he read. He had time to read just once and he had to retain that in his mind,' said Fr. Walter Anrade who returned as SJCC principal. Although Fr Andrade was not the principal during the five years Rahul was in SJCC, he was the principal before and after Rahul's stint in college. Anrade was very well liked by sportsmen in college, particularly cricketers as he went out of the way to prop them up. ``I knew Rahul well. His parents had spoken to me before zeroing in on Commerce as his degree. I was very proud of him and spoke of him as a role model for the other students. He was very good in cricket, excellent in studies and very well behaved. What more can any teacher ask?'' queried Anrade.

Rahul helped the institution in many ways. When his Hindi teacher Amanula needed money for medical expenses, Rahul willingly contributed his mite.

"I never had to worry about Rahul. If he was not playing a cricket match he would be in class, rather than whiling away the time like others on Brigade road or in the cycle stand,'' said Fr Lobo. Rahul, who was a Ranji Trophy player by the age of 17 and constantly on tour to play the various age group tournaments or Ranji Trophy or Duleep Trophy or India junior cricket, when not involved in inter-collegiate or club tournaments, was seldom able to attend classes. But he was not one to take his studies lightly. He, therefore, depended on his teachers to give him some personal attention after class.

Two of his teachers, Mrs Lily David and Mrs Vaz helped him a lot. The former, in particular, was a pillar of strength as Rahul and his dad openly acknowledge. TN Narasimha Rao, the economics lecturer was another who backed him.

Rahul used to go to Lily David's house in a bid to catch up with studies. She coached him and then set the agenda for his studies. She and Vaz always claimed that it was such a pleasure to teach Rahul as his grasping powers were above average.

GK Govinda Rao, the English lecturer was another multi-faceted personality who dabbled in theatre, films and union activities. He was very proud that Rahul did very well in life. ``He had no airs. He was very polite, a gentleman to the core. In this he was unlike many other cricketers who put on airs after playing for just the college team. I cannot remember Rahul ever misusing his position or his achievements in college. He was very respectful, very cultured and very decent in a very serious way. Although he did not have the time to involve himself in the Students Union or in other extra curricular activities I can very well say that the Josephites are all very proud about the way he has carried himself to this day. His conduct has brought credit to himself, his family, institution and country,'' he asserted.

The amount of goodwill and praise that were heaped on Rahul by his school and college teachers and class mates was simply staggering. Nobody had a single jarring word to say about him. It is unlikely that any other sportsman in India has achieved as much as he has and still conducted himself in such an exemplary manner.

"I made it a point to keep the TV room open even during class hours wherever Rahul was batting in Tests or One-Day Internationals simply because I feel that the values he stands for will be a shining example for young students. I know he will never be satisfied with mediocrity in anything he does. If the students want to watch him play and in the process imbibe even a small percentage of his values I know my role of an educator will be complete,'' stressed Fr Anrade.

Considering that the Josephites have had scores of international sportsmen in every discipline and have taken a lot of pride in their achievers in other fields too, the pedestal on which they have put Rahul is a pretty lofty one.

Extracted from Rahul Dravid A Biography by Vedam Jaishankar.