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Dravid weds today in BSF zone
Faisal Shariff in Bangalore |
May 04, 2003 02:10 IST
Today is Akshaya Tritiya, the day of eternity, immortality, and fulfilment, according to Hindu tradition.
Rahul Dravid could not have chosen a better day to enter matrimony, a day when all seven planets are in their most exalted positions.
But even as the white orchids arrived from Bangkok and anthuriums from Coorg, the 30-year-old Indian vice-captain and his bride-to-be have stayed away from the public eye.
Dravid has studiously avoided the press, and though he has organised a thirty-minute interaction with the media at the Taj West End ballroom at 1830 IST today, he has refused to take any questions about his marriage.
The marriage, a traditional Maharashtrian ceremony, will be solemnised at the Border Security Force's Subsidiary Training Centre in Yelahanka, about 20km from Bangalore on the highway to Hyderabad.
Why in a paramilitary camp, you ask? Simple. The tight security at the centre will ensure against gatecrashers. Getting Dravid to play a technically incorrect stroke will be easier.
Outside Shrishti, the Dravid residence in Indranagar, a lone guard at the gate says no one is home. The house is lit up and strewn with star-shaped lanterns. The Dravids, however, shifted to the BSF centre on Thursday, May 1, itself.
Darma, a 78-year-old dhobi (washerman) based right outside Shristi, is busy pressing clothes with his heavy, coal-filled iron, unaffected by the buzz about the wedding.
For the past 12 years, Darma has been pressing the creases off Dravid's garments. Whenever the star batsman is home, he sends his clothes to Darma for ironing. "I have been invited," he says, "but the venue is too far for me to travel at this age."
The fact that Dravid's wedding coincides with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to the Garden City has had an amusing result. The cabbie driving me to Yelahanka, which is also where the Light Combat Aircraft will be put on flight display for the prime minister today, says a lot of confusion has been caused by the traffic diversions for the dignitary's visit. "One passenger asked if the diversions are for Dravid's wedding," he laughs.
Dravid will host two receptions in Bangalore, one on the wedding day and one on Tuesday, May 6, at the Taj West End.
Today's reception will have a westernised feel while the one on May 6 will have an Oriental flavour, florist Mahendra Gangadharan says. Nefertiti Florists has done all the major events in the city, including the prime minister's function today, and though Mahendra refuses to divulge the cost of the decorations for Dravid's wedding, he confirms that a single white orchid from Bangkok costs Rs 35.
Kartik's Mithai Shoppe is the most popular in the city, claims Sunil Kumar Agarwal, the owner, who has been soaking in his 15 minutes of fame. As the man supplying sweets for the wedding, Agarwal has already given more interviews than Dravid since the latter announced his marriage.
"Please be careful what you write," says Agarwal. "I have a very good relationship with the Dravids. I would rather have famous people come to my shop than be famous for a short time."
Wipro chief Azeem Premji is a regular visitor to Kartik's while model-turned-actress Lara Dutta shows up every time she is in town.
Dry fruit and milk sweets are the main items selected for the wedding. But of the 40 savouries on offer in Agarwal's shop, only one has been selected. "Rahul has come here only twice," he says, "once to order and another time to sip some chaas (buttermilk). He has never tasted sweets here. But ever since he became an international cricketer, his mother has been coming here regularly."
In an amusing sidelight, a bunch of girls sitting at a coffee shop plans to take out a small procession to protest against Dravid's decision to marry an 'outsider' rather than a Bangalore girl.
But it may just be a tad too late now.