Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In which I receive a little lecture on Dravid's batting

Many moons ago I happened to chance upon a very funny blog by Deepak Gopalakrishnan aka @chuck_gopal and remarked, as a comment to one of his posts, that I had once been on the receiving end of a sharp lecture on the cricketing skills of R. Dravid. Chuck asked me to write a post about it, elaborating the incident.

The fly in the ointment of course is that it isn't much of a story. I have a hazy idea that in modern literature people can - and do - write entire chapters on people sitting by the sea, and describing individual waves rolling on to the shore but I doubt something like that would sustain dramatic interest. My auto driver story, I strongly suspect, is going to turn out like that. So if you find it terrible, please visit Andheri West where said chuck_gopal stays, and throw stones at his window.

The story: Once upon a time, I was taking an auto from Malad to Bandra, if I recall correctly, which is a big ticket purchase in Mumbai auto circles, and I was rightly getting a lot of respect from the auto guy.

We opened the conversation with light topics. On the dubious parentage of traffic policemen, we were both of unanimous opinion. The auto driver had just been reprimanded by a traffic policeman for wriggling into an open space when the cop was signalling him to stop. I wasn't feeling too good about traffic policemen as a tribe myself, having been soaked just the other day for many rupees for speaking on a cellphone while driving.

Continuing the feast of reason and flow of soul, the auto driver expressed a fairly leftist opinion of recent governmment policies which I did not share but could sympathise with. Again, he speculated on the parentage of some of our elected representatives, suggesting based on morphology, that one of the forebears was from the species canis familiaris.

The conversation turned to cricket. The auto driver, who seemed to be a self taught expert on genealogy, now discerned among the selectors' ancestry, sus scrofa domesticus. He berated several members of the cricket team as well.

I'm not much of a connoisseur of cricket but I remembered watching a match some days ago where Rahul Dravid was causing consternation among the cognoscenti for steadfastly refusing to cause wear and tear to the ball while batting. I decided to voice that opinion and suddenly, the auto came to a halt.

The auto driver parked it to a side and I could see from his expression that his assesment of me as a thinker was on par with Equus asinus asinus.

"You must be out your mind", he told me, with disturbing candour. "Dravid", he said, "is the most technically correct batsman in the side".

Getting out of the auto, he demonstrated to me how Dravid kept his head down while driving off the front foot and how balanced and measured his follow through was. Following this up with a demonstration of how Dravid played the pull shot, he told me with undisguised contempt "samajhta nahin to bolneka nahi", translating into Hindi for my benefit Boethius' quote "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses".

The man was big hearted, however. Putting aside his contempt for me and people of my ilk, he ferried me to my destination. I was sadder but wiser. Never again would I have the temerity to criticize Rahul Dravid.

It might have been soul searing, but I do believe the experience has left me a better man.

32 comments:

Idling in Top Gear said...

Haha. A Chennai autodriver once lectured me on why Simbu (look him up, he's TR's son) is a fine actor because he dances well.

Ashwin said...

Hahaha!! Glad you didn't recall any of Sachin's bad days that moment :-)

Ramaa said...

ROFL!!! :D

Gradwolf said...

Haha, am sure if you had recalled Sachin's bad days, you would have been dropped off at Andheri West and then only Deepak could have taken you home!

Deepak Gopalakrishnan said...

Featured on Narendra Shenoy's blog: Check.

Now I can die a happy man.

Nandhini said...

:D :D :D
This made my afternoon! :D Just yesterday an auto driver manoeuvred us through the great Chennai traffic tangle, while at it exploring the nuances of the Rafi vs Kishore vs Mukesh question. He even sang us through his argument that Mukesh could carry emotion better than the other two. :D

Arun said...

nice post :-) unlike IPL commentators, intelligent cricket analysts still do exist.

@idlingintopgear, chennai auto drivers would have been paid by simbu for that!

roswitha said...

Beautiful. What a lesson. :D

Abhinav Chandel said...

Lol ... this was a fun read

Abhishek Chopra said...

OCSLmax. :D

Karadi said...

u can take us to andheri west now.
we are all packed with stones and soda bottles

hehehe:)

Neha said...

YOU DON"T LIKE DRAVID! :O
I am a mumbaite and travel by auto regularly but it is unwise to start a conversation with driver for a girl :P

:)

Nileena said...

Awesomeness!! Dare I say I liked it better than the groaners???

deepak said...

hehehe back with a bang....

Niyantha Shekar said...

Haha nice! An auto driver once sang to me. The scars, they refuse to leave

Ashok said...

Che. Next time you should try saying that "Hrishikesh Kanitkar" was a useless player

maxdavinci said...

solid sirjee!

Pri said...

the automan is 100% correct. bhesh bhesh.

Puneet said...

You know, I LOVE talking to auto wallahs (though I can't say the sentiment is mutual) and I've had some of the most wonderful conversations with them. I can totally imagine this guy getting out and demonstrating Rahul's batting style, haha. Great read! :D

Raji said...

Picked up the recent issue of Outlook and was pleasantly surprised to see your blog being featured for satire.. Good show

Anonymous said...

too much :D :D

sush said...

The auto-driver I went to school with once insisted that the best batsman opened, followed by the next best and so on, and that was why Sehwag was a better Test batsman than Sachin :D

LOVE the blog :) :)

Anonymous said...

My one good experience with a chennai autodriver was when I had to rush to Koyembedu bus stand from Adyar which is quite a distance. Me and my hubby (with a half asleep toddler) just kept nodding to all the funny pieces of information this clever guy was sharing, while trying our best not to laugh out at the Chennai-accented Tamil. All this since it was about 10 PM and we were scared abt travelling in an auto in an unknown city!!
-Deepa

Soundar said...

In Jakarta, everyone watches Hindi movies dubbed into Bahasa, except for the songs which are heard as is.
On one memorable occasion, the cabbie, after asking me if I knew Sharoo Khan and Amita Bachan (yes Pak, they are both my neighbours) declared the former the best actor ever and sang the entire song from 'Kuch Kuch Hota hai' for my listening pleasure-NOT!

sublime ape said...

dear narenbhai
you need to diversifai;
another cricket article
will make me feel criticle
about being a solid fan
of the shenoy-man.

Sharatchandra Bhargav said...

I have a lot of respect for Mumbai auto drivers. Since I am from Bangalore and my in-laws are in Mumbai, I have taken to comparing the two species after my marriage. The Mumbai drivers still seem to retain some sense of courtesy, sincerity and giving your change back even if it is Rs.1. In Bangalore the drivers seem to have become progressively rude, incorrigible and you can kiss your change goodbye. Such are the vagaries of life....

parthicle said...

LOL. Imagined the scene as I read it. Imagine the pedestrians - an auto stops, the driver gets down and practices ghost cricket while the attentive passenger looks on! LOL

Maddy said...

in all my travails - i have not come across a bigger collection of experts on all kinds of topics like our desis. It is unlikely that one ever hears - I do not know. But it is so enjoyable listening to some of those words of wisdom..makes your day most of the time, seeing how much the most unlikely person knows about the unlikelist subject!!

it was fun reading this man..

SaiG said...

I was trying to visualize the scene! "kept his head down while driving off the front foot"... LOL!
Auto drivers are a special breed with a knowledge of everything. Chennai auto-drivers are no less, though in my frequent trips, I've not had a chance to hear about cricketing skills. Will try my luck next time. What name do you think I should try: Sachin, Dhoni (esp being the CSK captain), Sehwag? :)

The Lonely Saint said...

Off to Andheri West.

Pooja said...

I fear for what might happen to you in a Calcutta cab/ bus/ tram then....

Srivardhan said...

Awesome post! :D