The more I watched Cricket and understood the strokes, the skills, I was proud of how talented Dravid was and how good a technique he add ( I won't write more about this coz I don't want anyone to start thinking about Mandira Bedi here).
As a typical teenager who had a crush on someone, I started working on being the best fan ( at least I can term myself that!) Dravid ever would have. I created a scrap book with every single picture I could get my hands on and a cut out of every interview that ever got published in those years. How did I manage that? A few ways- I had a deal with our local librarian that I will buy every sportstar and sports world after 2 months for 50paise ( money was something I didn't have all the time you know), I collected pepsi crowns from outside little stores to make it a 50 or a 100 and exchange it to postcards, posters that were given away. I had also pestered every cousin, friend, uncle, neighbour I could, to collect ' anything Dravid' that they came across and give it to me.
I am a bit embarrassed to say that I was a bit of a stalker too. My cousin ( another Dravid fan -of course not as big as me) and me went to visit Dravid at his home in Indiranagar only to meet his dad which was a tad disappointing. On an other occassion I went to watch a Ranji trophy match ( were told that we didn't need tickets )- Karnataka vs Goa( yeah! They have a team!) at KSCA only to know that you do need to have a ticket to get to the stand closest to the dressing rooms. To our luck we see Syed Kiramani coming out of the club entrance....went up, spoke to him and we have his pass to enter the stadium....we sat just 2 rows from the dressing room- I don't remember what happened to the game - guess we won.
One of the closest encounters I had was at the opening ceremony of the new wing of the table tennis academy that my brother used to go to and Dravid was the chief guest. My dream did come true....however, all I managed was 'I'm a huge fan of yours' and 'good luck for the upcoming series'. 'Shy' got the better of me. But, I was happy!!!!
I was however heartbroken (a bit of exaggeration won't hurt here, will it?) when he got married, though I was happy for him. As the days went by I continued on being his fan and carried on working on my scrap book and my Dravid wall in my room until slowly the girl in me grew up. I admired him and respected him for the player that he was and carried on being his fan in a 'sane' way.
I would admit that people who knew me did know I had a huge crush on him through my school years, I was a FAN of Rahul Dravid and he was my most favourite sports person.
Of course I still miss seeing him playing in the Indian Team and every time we buckle in a game a thought goes by wishing he was there to save us!