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What does Rahul Dravid's signature say about his personality?

For those of you who are wondering about the rationality of the title of this piece, yes, hand-writing does reveal information about one’s personality traits. In fact, it’s a science with a name, that is, graphology. Graphology is a scientific method of identifying, evaluating, and understanding a person’s personality via the strokes and patterns revealed by that person’s handwriting. But graphology is a topic for another day; the true subject of this article is a great man who made scores of people his fans slowly but steadily much the same way that he was known to bat. There are very few sportsmen in this world who truly epitomize the role human qualities play in overall success as well as Rahul Dravid has done in his entire career. Grit, hard work, determination, persistence, never-say-die attitude – these are just few of the many words or phrases that one would normally associate Rahul Dravid with.

About the signature sample

Being a qualified hand-writing analyst myself, I have been on the lookout for a real hand-writing sample of Rahul Dravid. I did find a lot on the internet but none with an assurance of being real. I recently got in touch with a group of dedicated Rahul fans who are working to write a book on the great man. One of the panelists shared with me the letter that Rahul Dravid himself signed to give his acceptance to go ahead with the book project. Once I had that sample at hand, the graphologist in me could not stop from getting on with the analysis immediately.

Rahul Dravid Actual

 Rahul Dravid’s signature analysis

If I have to decipher Rahul’s signature in a few words, I would say, one can easily see how prominently he has written “R” and the last letter “d”; the strokes between these two letters are not clearly visible with the exception of the letter “a”. The portions of the signature that are not clearly written are called illegible. Illegibility in some characters in the signature is not something unusual, especially when we are talking about the celebrities who have to sign autographs every now and then. And with that frequency and hurriedness in writing signatures, it’s not always possible to have legibility maintained throughout the signature. Illegible characters in the signature represent another dimension as well, which is that the person does not want to reveal his thoughts to the public. In case of Rahul, I think the illegibility is because of the former reason, that is, the routine of signing many autographs taking its toll over the characters in the signature. But with still a lot of portion of his signature legible, I could go ahead and analyze and note the 5 important aspects of his personality that got revealed.

 Rahul Dravid details

Note: signature sample has been resized to maintain the readability

Healthy ego, pride:

In a hand-writing sample, ego can be seen in the size of capital letters, and pride in the length of the stem of the letter “t” or “d”.

Contrary to what is often believed, ego is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is in a way necessary for one’s survival. In other words, for humans to exist and flourish, it is necessary to have a sense of self, i.e., one’s ego. However, an inflated ego is a bad thing, even detrimental to oneself and the relationships one may have.

In case of Rahul’s signature sample, it looks like a healthy side of ego. It suggests that he is not an insecure person. During his playing days, that was quite evident from the way he handled the situations he was not given enough credit for. There were many innings where he played his best and scored heavily, only to find out that the other player had had a better day than him. The way he handled such situations without creating much fuss has been one of his legendary characteristics. He always took pride in what he achieved and focused on doing the best for the team.

Ability to focus

Rahul’s signature reveals some clear signs of his legendary ability to focus on anything he is involved in doing. This is evident from the small size and formation of the non-capital letters in his signature. Small size of characters is an indication of the ability of a person to concentrate.

The Oxford dictionary definition of the word “concentration” is “the act or power of focusing one’s attention”.

One of the best definitions of the word “concentration” comes from Geet Sethi (world record holder in billiards) when he says concentration is simply remaining in the present. The longer you can remain in the present, the greater your span of concentration. This definition quite beautifully sums up what concentration is all about.

This perhaps is considered as Rahul’s greatest quality as a cricketer. And this directly comes from the fact that he played more balls than any other player (31,000+) and also has spent the most minutes (43,000+) at the crease in the history of Test cricket. The enormity of his feat can be judged from the fact that the next player in this list has played 30+ more Test matches than Rahul and is still considerably behind in these lists.

Add to this another fact that  Rahul Dravid saw 453 wickets fall while batting at the other side of the crease – the most by a batsman in a Test career. This record is also a testimony to the fact that he remained focused and unfazed even when wickets around him kept falling.

Fazal Khaleel, one of Rahul’s old friend from kindergarten and who played with him in Ranji Trophy, said about his ability to focus (in Rahul Dravid’s biography) -

Rahul was amazingly focused. He set goals for himself, spoke about it and went about achieving it with determination that I have never seen. His commitment and involvement were always total, even in the young days. He could not understand how others could be anything but totally committed.

Rahul’s father Sharad had this to say (in Rahul’s biography) about his legendary focus right from his early days.

“…We encouraged him to play cricket but on the condition that his studies would never suffer. Blessed as he was with the ability to compartmentalize tasks, Rahul, like his mother, reveled in multitasking. His school friends speak in awe of his ability to study in a crowded bus each morning. There would be only standing room in the bus. Rahul would cling on to the vertical bar in the bus and read his school books unmindful of the din around him. He would get off the bus and straight away head for nets. In the evening, he would repeat this studying performance in the bus.”

Optimism

Optimism in hand-writing is revealed by the baseline of the writing moving upwards. Upward movement is very evident in Rahul’s signature.

Optimistic people have the ability to think best, even when in difficult times. They have the ability to view the glass as half-full rather than half-empty.

That optimism was an integral part of Rahul’s character was demonstrated a lot of times in his career, but one of the cases that stand out is him choosing to keep wickets even though he was already an established player. Many former players criticized the move thinking that it might impact his performance with the bat and might increase his chances of getting injured. Rahul, being a quintessential team man, focused on  the team’s needs and chose to commit himself to an area completely unknown to him (he had never kept wickets in competitive cricket before donning the gloves for India). He built the skills and succeeded. It impacted his batting as well.

He could achieve all of this because of the strength of his positive character, with the help of the optimism that was at the core of his personality.

Perfectionism

Perfection in hand-writing is revealed to an extent by the straightness of the baseline of the handwriting.

In addition to the way he perfectly crafts his innings, perfection follows in everything else that he does, even prior to starting the innings.

Being a perfectionist, he gives a lot of importance to structure. He tends to spend a lot of time putting everything in place and review work trying to make it more precise. He has excessive need for control in certain areas.

Everyone is aware of Rahul’s perfection streak on the field but his wife Vijeta provides some interesting references to perfectionism in everything he does in an article she wrote for Cricinfo -

When I traveled with him for the first time, in Australia in 2003-04, I began to notice how he would prepare for games – the importance of routines, and his obsession with shadow practice at odd hours of day or night. I found that weird. Once, I actually thought he was sleepwalking! 

If I packed only two sets of informal clothes, he would rotate them through an entire tour if he had to and not think about it. He doesn’t care for gadgets, and barely registers brands – of watches, cologne or cars. But if the weight of his bat was off by a gram, he would notice it in an instant and get the problem fixed.

Judgmental, not impulsive

Emotional responsiveness of a human being is a critical part of his personality and can be identified by looking at the slant of the hand-writing. In case of Rahul, his hand-writing slant is almost vertical which means that:

Rahul is ruled by his head and not the heart. He is a cool, collected person who may not necessarily be so openly expressive emotionally. Some people may see him as unemotional. He is objective and given to evaluating facts before taking decisions. He is never impulsive. He uses his judgment to make decisions without much influence of emotions.

This aspect of Rahul’s personality is best reflected from this quote by Michael Slater after an incident in the 2001 Mumbai Test -

“Sledging Rahul Dravid was one the mistakes of my life. He did not lose his cool even when i was hurling abuses at him. I could not stomach the fact that he was single-handedly demolishing the best team in the world. When the rage wore out on me, I realized that I was an animal and he was a gentleman. He won my heart instantly” - Michael Slater

One may think after reading through the analysis that I have only highlighted the positive things. I think I could do more if I had a hand-writing sample as well, but one of the things that I have learned is to be non-judgmental about the personality traits of an individual. The reason for that is the same trait, if viewed through a different lens, can be perceived as negative by some. Moreover, Rahul Dravid’s life and career are things to be celebrated, so I will leave the negatives for some other occasion. Kudos Rahul Dravid!

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