20 June, 2021

Man With That Left Hand Drive

An early devil-may-care flamboyance tempered by love for cricket, softened by a happy family life

Man With That Left Hand Drive

It was in Class IX that an unabashedly upbeat ‘Jattji’ strode out within 45 minutes of the start of the math exam. When the results were out, a standing ovation greeted the guy who had ‘cracked’ the test like no other. His only comment on the answer sheet: For all answers please refer to NCERT books. Thank you very much, Shikhar Dhawan.

The devil-may-care defiance and reputation for being ‘notoriously’ out-of-the-box was not restricted to the classroom. Childhood friend Karan Wahi recalls how after school, Shikhar had once danced in the middle of the road atop a police check post, bringing traffic to a halt. “He never cared about what the world thought about him. He’s a supremely confident guy,” he says.

Though the student of St Mark’s School in Paschim Vihar, west Delhi, had broken all records of lowest percentages in academics and top figures in notoriety, he was the darling of the teachers. Vice-principal Veena Wahi remembers him as a fun-loving boy drunk on cricket who yearned to be out of the...

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