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A 'simple and studious' bride for Dravid

Anand Bhisey | April 02, 2003 16:21 IST

Imagine a cricketer being bowled over by a girl totally oblivious to the intricacies of the game! That's what has happened to Rahul Dravid, vice-captain of the Indian cricket team.

Dr. Vijeta Pendharkar, 27, has 'snared' Rahul, among the most dependable batsmen in the game today. However, the bride-to-be has little knowledge of the game.

"Vijeta has absolutely no interest in and no knowledge of cricket," her parents, father Wing Commander (Retired) S. P. Pendharkar and mother Jayashree, a dietician, said.

In fact, Vijeta did not even know that the wicketkeeper had to change ends after every over. "It was only when she watched some matches during the recent World Cup in South Africa that she came to know of the practice," Pendharkar said.

Although cricket does not interest her, Vijeta probably watched some games to know what her future hubby does 'at work'.

Vijeta has had a 'mixed' upbringing. She spent her early childhood at various places in the country where her father was posted during his stint in the Indian Air Force, giving her a 'forces' background. Her father retired after she passed her Class X examination from Bal Bharati school in Delhi. The family then settled down in Nagpur, and Vijeta has been leading a typical 'upper middle-class' life since.

She continued her education at the prestigious Shri Shivaji Science college in Nagpur, known to produce meritorious students. True to the institution's tradition, Vijeta came out with flying colours and faced no problems getting into the Government Medical College in the city. She went on to earn her MS (General) from the same institution in November 2002.

The Pendharkars are proud of the fact that their only daughter, the youngest of three children, got through purely on merit.

"Her scores were such that she faced no problems whatsoever," said the beaming father.

Sarita Kulkarni, a former schoolmate, described Vijeta as a simple and studious girl.

"Vijeta has had a very simple upbringing with high moral standards," according to a medicine school classmate who preferred to remain anonymous.

The sudden attention from the media appears to have flustered Vijeta's family. Her parents are trying their best to protect her privacy, even declining to reveal minor details like Vijeta's hobbies. Vijeta herself is unwilling to step into the spotlight, which she is soon going to have to share with Rahul. The Pendharkars are keeping nosey scribes politely at bay; in fact, at the door itself.

Jayashree, the concerned mother, explains: "We don't want to gain too much publicity. I am not sure Rahul's family, especially Vijeta's mother-in-law, would approve."

Unlike Rahul, Vijeta may not be able to tell a yorker apart from a googly, but is happy dreaming about the future. For now, she plans to start her surgeon's practice in Bangalore, and hopes to do well.

The Pendharkars and Dravids have known each other for long, over 35 years now. Pendharkar worked in Bangalore between 1968 and 1971, and that is when the friendship crystallised. Later, Rahul's father, Sharad, worked for a while in Nagpur.

Vijeta's co-students in medicine school remember being aware of her family's close ties with Rahul's family. They also recall that Rahul would make it a point to meet Vijeta whenever it was possible.

So is it a love marriage, after all? The Pendharkars parry the question with broad smiles.

How did the match come about?

"Rahul is a thorough gentleman. Who wouldn't want to have him as his son-in-law," Pendharkar says.

Even the traditional considerations were favourable, as Vijeta's mother Jayashree revealed: "The Dravids are from Indore/Gwalior, and are Maharashtrian Deshastha Brahmins."

However, a date has not yet been fixed for the marriage because of "Rahul's uncertain schedule", Vijeta's father informed.

Pendharkar dismissed as "sheer speculation" reports in a section of the press in Nagpur that Rahul has not yet given his assent to the proposed alliance with Vijeta.

"The marriage was finalised over two months ago. Rahul has given his consent," he says, and then bowls a dot ball: "Why else would Vijeta have been watching Rahul in action during the World Cup in South Africa?"

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