Oct 30, 2010

A few good men

( Blogadda Spicy Saturday Pick winner )

Thanks to the scams and scandals that fill our daily news, you won't read this story in any newpaper.

It happened a week ago in Coimbatore.
A medical conference was taking place. Amongst many others that day, a senior doctor was giving a speech on atherosclerosis. After the speeches were done, the doctors all took a break for tea. As is always the case, medical opinions slowly gave way to friendly banter. In the midst of all this, as various doctors spoke of their families and how they were studying in various continents of the world, one of them asked this doctor about his family.
The doctor gave a wry smile and said 'My son is more into games. He plays cricket.'
Residents who were there later confirmed the thought that crossed all their minds simultaneously : That the kid was some brash guy who was living off his dad's name and earnings, playing in local leagues.
One of the residents asked : 'Does he play for Ranji league ?'
Again a sheepish grin. 'Well, he used to a while back, but not so much these days.'
Seeing the man trying to cover the embarrassment of his obviously spoilt brat, some of the doctors felt sad for the distinguished doctor. It was then that a resident picked up on the clues in front of him and asked the mild mannered doctor who had travelled all the way from Hyderabad to teach his junior colleagues. 'Sir. What is your son's name ?'
The man looked at him and said in that familiar unassuming soft voice that he had passed on to his son "Venkata Sai."

Better known to you and me as VVS Laxman.

It is less than 4 weeks since V.V.S. Laxman, with a bad back and incapable of running, did the impossible and won the game at Mohali against the Aussies. At a time when the Rs 70,000 crore Commonwealth Games had begun, it was his face that dominated the front page of every newspaper the next day and pawned a very enjoyable set of "Laxman-rekha" SMS and Twitter jokes.



But this is no isolated incident. There is no list of the top 10 Test innings which does not feature his 281 against Waugh's men in Eden Gardens all those years ago which many still call 'the best test match ever'.
Mind you, this is not a post to discuss his cricketing skills and start comparisons with the likes of Tendulkar, Bradman, Hadlee or myself ( Cough Cough Wheeze Cough.) This is a post on culture and the kind of behaviour worth emulating.

Nowadays, whenever I read the word 'Indian culture', I cringe inwardly because invariably it is being mouthed off by a bunch of fanatics or religious fossils who use the term as an excuse to either hide their own sins or hurt and blackmail us into submission. And the attitude seeps down across generations obviously, as was visible earlier this month when a 20 year old 'son of the soil' announced his arrival into his Grandpa's Tiger gang by forcing the Mumbai University to remove a novel (which ironically is 19 years old itself ) from the Mumbai University syllabus midterm simply because 'he didn't like it.'

On the other hand, you have the soft spoken gentleman, who rather than resting on his son's laurels, still comes to give talks on health issues to junior residents and prefers not to go around showing off, even though his son is the toast of the nation's cricketing fans this month. It reflects too, in his son's behaviour, because even the Aussies who he has tormented for over a decade now, admit they have never met a nicer, more soft spoken gentleman than V.V.S.Laxman. It is an apt example of not letting success go to their heads.

Both the above families are a part of who we are as Indians : The wild tiger and the serene poet. Both achieve success and adulation through different means. But is success everything ?

Whenever people come complaining to me about being ill-treated by people in a more senior position than themselves, I tell them this :
"People can demand your fear. But they cannot demand your respect. That can only be earned."
There maybe a 1000 articles, celebrating VVS Laxman. But this post is not one of them. This was written with just one aim : to pay respect to a father who taught his son well. Sir, we are proud of the way you've raised your son. We have enough stars in cricket to look up to for every shot in the book, but very few good men whose character we would wish our kids to emulate.
The Australians may fear him but everyone respects him for who he is... and that's more than we can say for some of the next generation cubs of India.

32 comments:

  1. WOW!!! Great family... Wish there are more people like that...

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  2. Definitely not a cricket fan... but a gr8 look at parent and child relationship! ;)

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  3. Wow! Well said!

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  4. Dear Roshan,
    Good Morning!
    Great to start the day!
    Thanks and thanks a lot!
    The values,the culture,the traditions should be inculcated from the early years.
    I have seen respected people who are so humble.
    And recently had the experience of the popular actress who is sooooo haughty.
    And the Mother of V.V.S. Laxman.....deserves the kudos.......
    I am very much interested in knowing the lives of great personalities.
    Wishing you a beautiful weekend to relax.
    Sasneham,
    Anu

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  5. madhu, i know right...

    Danny, a great look at how genes pass on across generations.. In both examples, I might add.

    Shalini, thanks.

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  6. Anonymous30.10.10

    Dear Roshan,
    Good Morning!
    Great to start the day!
    Thanks and thanks a lot!
    The values,the culture,the traditions should be inculcated from the early years.
    I have seen respected people who are so humble.
    And recently had the experience of the popular actress who is sooooo haughty.
    And the Mother of V.V.S. Laxman.....deserves the kudos.......
    I am very much interested in knowing the lives of great personalities.
    Wishing you a beautiful weekend to relax.
    Sasneham,
    Anu

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  7. Anu, the case of ur comments not appearing under ur gmail id is curious :)

    Anyway, hopefully there'll be more stories of celebrities who are down to earth across various blogs which will come to our attention soon :)

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  8. Good one. . But sadly The serene calm parents are getn rare these days. .

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  9. g2, thanks.

    Rohan, true. How many role models are there really across generations to point out to kids today ?

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  10. Good one!!! and yeah like father.. like son :-)

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  11. See? Like father, like son.
    Not only the new generation, even people like Sreesanth can learn from him. And Sreesanth's parents can also learn from the humble gentleman thats VVS's Dad.

    By the way, I loved the new background and the header background with the stethoscope... very creative and relevant for u :-)

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  12. Very Interesting..and yes respect has to be earned..it can not be demanded neither by age nor by power.

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  13. Meety and Anita, "like father, like son" indeed.. Weird thing is I still cant think of many role model "father-child" combos I admire for their behaviour.. A Vishy Anand comes to mind.

    Anita, the funny thing is I have changed this look over a dozen times in the last 6 months, be it logo or background... still not satisfied. In 5 yrs of blogging, this site has probably seen 50 different looks !!

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  14. Alka, I certainly believe in that. Age isn't a factor worthy of respect as far as I'm concerned.

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  15. Anonymous1.11.10

    Me Likie, Doc u r good and u r very lucky

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  16. Lucky ? That's kind of a vague statement :S

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  17. modesty and humbleness is the virtue of the few...

    nice message...

    every son should do a deed to make his father proud

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  18. Aparna, sigh.. dont remind. I'm 29 years into PLANET EARTH and yet to do anything close to that last sentence you mentioned.. :(

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  19. Oh, Mr. Roshan. You asked, you received. Pop on your helmet and come on by...

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  20. v well written roshan.... its v much thought provoking .... keep blogging roshan..... cheers

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  21. Vivek, thanks man.. hope you're doing good.

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  22. Good one, doc. My sports journalist friends would also agree with you. They might admire Tendulkars and Dravids, but they do respect Lakshman more. He's a true gentleman, in every possible sense ;-)

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  23. good to hear that Chandu.. as I write this, he's just saved ANOTHER test for us.. hehe.. what a guy !!

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  24. Felt really happy reading the post and thanks for sharing.

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  25. As per the collaborative research done by The Week/Hansa on top 10-multi-speciality hospitals, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai has been ranked as the best private multi-speciality hospital in India. In Delhi, the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals has been ranked second before Sir Ganga Ram Hospital; Max Super Speciality Hospital.To read more please visit http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7275489-apollo-hospitals-chennai-ranked-best-private-multispeciality-hospital-in-india

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  26. TME, nice to hear that :)

    Ankit.. ya, I read the article..

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  27. that was interesting!!

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  28. Very aptly put. And the examples provided to showcase the difference is worth it.

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  29. indeed... its the respect u earn that matters , not just brute strength.

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  30. Loved the way this post flowed. The way you brought out the so-called 'Indian culture' by stating these two examples were wonderful. And, in India, we have an abundance of these tw types - the one who are quiet and the other who are quite . . .

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So what do you think ?