How is my hero in real life? I don’t care

“What is Rahul Dravid in real life?” – I don’t know. As a cricketer, brilliant but I have no clue how he is in his real life.

The above question is from a post in Quora.com. People ask a lot of questions on Quora and interestingly, it seems to have an answer to everything. So, when I was pinged the link, I was convinced that today, I will finally learn – “How (‘what’ sounds wrong, doesn’t it?) Rahul Dravid is in real life?”

Not that I cared, but out of sheer inquisitiveness, I read on.

“I recently met him at his house to show a product that I had developed. I had always heard about his humility and down to earth nature, I was nervous anyway. I was waiting at his office in his house, he came down in around 5 odd minutes. Just as he came, I stood up and introduced myself,” Hi I am M***.” He shook my hand and replied, ” Hi I am Rahul, nice to meet you”. I was awestruck, he introduced himself to me! I could not reply, the man that the whole of India and the cricketing world knows and adores, still introduced himself just like anyone else does. Later on thinking, I myself thought that during my team as the head of the organizing committee of my college festival, when juniors would have come to meet me to discuss something, I would not have introduced myself, assuming that they know me. My respect for him, which was really very high before, went up even more.”

This guy was ‘awestruck’ that Rahul Dravid introduced himself. What a legend! He got his basic decency right, bravo! But isn’t it a basic protocol to introduce yourselves during an official meet, irrespective of status and hierarchy?

Then he narrates how he was the “head of the organizing committee of my college festival”  and never introduced himself to his juniors.  He needed Dravid to teach him that, you shouldn’t be a dick even if you are the “head” of some committee in your college.

It went on and with every answer, my heart went “awwwww….”. People shared it on Facebook, on WhatsApp and then it became an annoying viral post. I searched a bit more. Quora even has “What is Roger Federer in real life?” (Okay, ‘what’  sounds really wrong now). Humble, awesome, kind – It was fantastic to read. I almost had a lump in my throat.

I still didn’t care.

Then, a certain Rahul Dravid fan forced me to find out “How awesome Rahul Dravid is in real life?

Before I go any further, let me clarify that this is not a defamation post and I am a Rahul Dravid fan myself and do consider him as the second best Test batsman to hail from India.

But that’s pretty much it. I have no interest to find out how he is in real life. (How sounds way better than what – proved). But fans are fans. They start raving about their hero, go on a bit more, then they forget to turn it off and then it turns tad bit annoying.

I haven’t got a problem with hero worship but what annoys me is people believing unverified stories about their heroes. For example, when this post was shoved down my throat, I retorted with a story.

My brother was playing for a club side at Eden Gardens and MS Dhoni turned out for them. He got out early and so he was sitting in the dressing room. The batsmen in the middle asked for some water and there was no 12th man, so MS went out and handed a bottle.

“Wow” – was the reply, “Mahi is awesome!”

Great story. One problem. It’s a story. But hey, people believed it.

Image is Everything!That’s the problem. People meet celebs, click selfies with them and then, form a story around it. A few days back, Kapil Dev visited our office for doing Hindi commentary. I grabbed the opportunity and clicked a photo with him.

Guess what he said to me?

Nothing.

I greeted him, he smiled, we clicked a picture, I thanked him and that’s it. But that doesn’t make a good story, does it? We talked about Indian cricket and he actually paid heed to what I said — now that’s a nice boost to my ego.

Another instance, when I bumped into Sourav Ganguly in a flight. I got an autograph but that was it. But when the plane landed, I heard a guy standing at the conveyor belt bragging about his experience of meeting DADA on phone – “Arre Dada is brilliant yaar. Photo khiche, baat kiye, I asked him about Sachin, Dravid. Too good yaar.

In reality, he did sign autographs but slept through the entire journey.

Coming back to the Quora post.

“When he was walking in front on me, I realized he was “Rahul Dravid”, wearing a yellow Polo T-Shirt, A simple brown Nike Hat, and blue jeans. He had earphones in his ears and was carrying his own luggage. I was awestruck!”

Rahul Dravid was wearing a t-shirt and blue jeans — WOULD. YOU. BELIEVE. IT? We all imagined he always walked around in a Tom Ford suit. Then, He was wearing a simple Nike hat — there’s nothing simple about a Nike hat, it costs a bomb and he was wearing it because India is sponsored by Nike, it was his commercial commitment and so, even if he wanted, he couldn’t have flaunted an Adidas floppy.

The post was a farce but a bigger farce was the way people reacted to it. In India, we are so smitten by our heroes that we want to know everything about them and we tend to staple their on-field persona on their off-field behaviour as well. So, Dravid can’t be rude, Kohli is a brat, MS Dhoni is cool and Cristiano Ronaldo is an asshole

Anything beyond these perceptions are completely unacceptable and the PR agencies feed off it. These images work for them and they work their campaigns around them. Without their nod of approval, the celebs can’t even say “hello”. They even scout the restaurants before they go out for dinners. Then they call in the paparazzi and voilà, Kohli had dinner with Anushka.

A brilliant example of PR-power was the “Kohli’s kiss” drama. Here’s how the events unfolded. It didn’t happen in the first game, neither did it happen in the second. It happened with India sealing the series — a happy moment for fans.

Moreover, Kohli’s image needed resurrection. After a disaster of an English tour, Kohli needed to make a statement, both about his batting and his personal life. The Hyderabad ODI was perfect — series win as a captain, fastest to 6,000 runs and then the flying kiss conveying the message – “I don’t give a fuck about what people think.” Also, Kohli is very close to the Indian captaincy, so now, he has nothing to hide anymore and oh, PK is releasing on the 19th of December.

Conspiracy theory? You may not like it, but this is the reality.

Praise your heroes for their on-field achievements but keep out of their personal lives. Keep a tab on their technique but trying to find how they are in real life is a waste. All you’ll ever get is an image because in the realms of celeb-management — “Image is everything!”

P.S. – Keep posting those answers in Quora…Stellar read!

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