An exclusive interview with former Indian cricketer, VVS Laxman about his career and the role his parents played in his success.
By Akshaya Ganesh
They say that we learn from experience, and truly so, this cricketing champ has picked all the right things from his experiences. The fourth wheel of India’s famous four, VVS Laxman’s importance came to the fore when he, along with Rahul Dravid, helped India turn around an almost lost match against Australia in 2001. That 281 at Kolkata will be etched in the memories of cricket lovers forever. Laxman, the wrist master, wanted to use his wrists for an entirely different purpose, early in his life. He wanted to be a doctor. So, what made him take the detour towards cricket? And what role did his parents play in making him the person that he is? Find out in this round of ‘Rapid Five with VVS’.
Q: We start on a lighter note – how were you when you were a child? Were you well-behaved or naughty?
Well, my parents have to answer this question; but, I think I was a mix of both - naughty and well-disciplined. I started playing active cricket at the age of eleven and since that time, I thought I became more disciplined. Otherwise, I would have been naughtier than I am.
Q: Who were you closer to when you were young? Mom or Dad?
I think I was equally close to both of them. They inspired me with their actions and helped me become a better person. In fact, both of them are my role models. However, the person with whom I used to share all my issues was definitely my mother. She was the one who was always there to help me by solving various issues that I had as a kid, especially in school. But ultimately, I was close to both of them and was fortunate to have them by my side in all the situations I faced.
Q: Both your parents are doctors and you also wanted to be one yourself. What made you take the detour towards cricket? How supportive were your parents of this decision?
Like every kid in India, I too wanted to play cricket. But to be honest, playing for India was my wildest dream. My goal was to become a doctor like my parents. I was very good in Science. I finished state first in Science in my 10th standard, scoring 98 out of 100. Even in 11th standard, I took BiPC (a combination of Biology, Physics and Chemistry as mainstream subjects), but I got many opportunities in cricket (around the same time) and I capitalised on all those opportunities. By the time I was 17, I was on the verge of playing for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy, while also clearing my EAMCET exams. That was the toughest phase in my life where I had to choose a career. I’m fortunate that my parents gave me the freedom to pursue my dream of playing cricket although it was with a deadline of five years. They told me that if in those five years I got to play for the country, I could continue (pursuing) my dream; otherwise I would have to come back and appear for the medical examinations. I worked really hard and towards the end of the fifth year, I managed to fulfil my dream of playing for India. I am happy that my parents never forced me to pursue anything, unlike a few of my friends' parents. They also emphasised that it is not the profession that glorifies you, but you who go out and glorify the profession – I tried to do that till the last day I played the game.
Q: Does that mean you’d encourage your children to follow whatever their heart tells them?
I always learn from experience. In my own life my parents gave me the choice to pursue whatever I wanted. Therefore, it goes without saying that I will allow my kids to pursue whatever they want. It is important that they make their decision, because I believe that every child has a unique talent and I think it is imperative to encourage each child. Ultimately, it is their life and they should be happy doing whatever they do. So, I will always encourage my kids to follow their passion.
Q: Do you have a message for all our readers and users of ParentCircle?
I think it is an important initiative by ParentCircle because every person who becomes a parent wants his/her child to have a fulfilling life. And through this platform, every stakeholder who wants children to achieve their dreams is connected. It’s a great platform and I want a lot of people to use this, as there are a lot of good things that can be learnt by just being a part of it. I’m sure that everyone will benefit from parentcircle.com, as it enables parents to raise super happy kids. Also, this is the message that I would want to give to all the users who visit parentcircle.com – may your child achieve all his dreams like I was fortunate to achieve mine, and I’m sure that your child will also have a fulfilling life.
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