Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Meeting With Anil Kumble

Anil Kumble announced his retirement from One Day Internationals and newspapers are replete with details of his achievements on the field. His aggression, determination and will to win - complete with clenched teeth and furrowed eyebrows - were there for all who watched his bowling. Newspapers also mention his team spirit, dignity and humility. Two Desicritics articles extol his virtues as a gentleman and a model for other celebrities.

All of this brings to mind my meeting with Kumble 16 years ago at his house for an interview for my college newspaper when he had just made it into the Indian team for the first time. It was early on a quiet Saturday morning. His mother opened the door, let me in, showed to a chair and asked me to wait for a few minutes. Kumble was not back yet from his training. As I waited she returned with a plate of dosas. I was touched. There was no need to do that at all. I was a complete stranger to her, but she went out of her way to make me feel welcome. It is not hard to see where Kumble gets his humility and gentlemanliness from.

I had my list of questions written out on a sheet of paper, a Sony dictaphone that my dad had bought for me on one of his trips to Madras, and a couple of spare cassettes. It was the first time I used that dictaphone. Needless to say, I felt very professional. Kumble, in his low voice, spoke very well and answered all my questions thoughtfully. He didn't at all seem frazzled for someone who was still a student and was off on his first tour representing India.

I finished the interview, went home and turned the tape on for everyone to listen and discovered that I said "ok, ok" or "hunh, hunh" too many times. While it was a pain to listen to, it was easy to type up because a quarter of the tape (ok, a slight exaggeration perhaps) was me with those expressions. Unfortunately, that habit has still not disappeared. My producer at the radio station for which I do interviews now says I must stop saying "ok, ok" every time the interviewee finishes a sentence. He was having a nightmare of a time editing out my "oks" and grunts from one of my recordings. To which, of course, I replied, "ok, ok."

Coming back to the Kumble interview, it was printed in the college newspaper with a vertical photograph of him in action, and my name at the end of the article. For a young student making a foray into journalism, it was a great feeling.

7 comments:

Andy said...

Nice post. Came to your blog via Desipundit. Can you put that interview session as a podcast on your blog if you still have the material?

Sathya said...

Hi,

I echo Andy's request... can you find the audio tape if so can you put it up as a podcast?


and when you tell his mother made dosas... brings into my mind the the south indian courtesy...

Anybody coming home would / will be subjected to gramma's "cothas filter coffee" compulsarily...

And if the stay exceeds half an hour it would have to include semiya upma... dosa...idli or atleast plain curd rice...

I personally feel this spirit of corteousness is something we are rapidly loosing.

Sathya

Sujatha said...

Hi Andy and Sathya, thank you. Unfortunately, don't have the tape. Don't think the audio would have survived for 16 years even if I'd thought about perserving it. I do have to figure out a good way to put up audio though for my more recent interviews. One of these days...

Sathya, don't know if the courteousness has disappeared. If that's the way you were brought up, I think it's natural to want to keep it alive...

Sunil said...

why don't you see if you can find the text of that interview? That'll be nice as well.

This post reminded me of an old post of mine, remembering Anil Kumble, my neighbor :-)

Sujatha said...

I'll do that Sunil. I don't have the paper with me right now, but as soon as I can get it, I'll put it up.

And thank you so much for linking to your post! It was wonderful to read.

Naked Desserts said...

You are so right Sujatha, there is no better feeling that seeing your name at the end of an article in the newspaper for the very first time.

You feel proud, but I used get a bit paranoid and scan the article again and again to spot errors!

Stone said...

ok ok :-)

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