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A day in the life of Dhoni

by Gaurav Sethi

Mahi's love for full cream milk is part of urban legend - some say four litres, others say it's no less than five, some days, even six. Still others claim Mahi is all about big shots and he only has either four or six litres - he will never have five because five signifies the ball hitting the helmet and his failing as a wicketkeeper. These days when he's home, he wakes up in the middle of the night when it's milk time for his daughter. "Like her dad, she loves milk, and if it's early morning I help myself to a glass of cold milk too, when she grows up a little I can see the two of us saying cheers with milk... yes, that's something I'm quite looking forward to but I suppose I will have to wait a bit for that," elaborates Dhoni as he often does. "I would also like to take her for a ride on my bike and yes, for once, drinking and driving is not really such a bad thing you see". Way back in 2008, Dhoni even joked with air force officers - "I used to have almost six litres of milk before. Now, I have reduced it to one litre everyday, thanks to the high prices."
Getting out of bed, Dhoni checks his WhatsApp messages - on top is the group "Kings" (refers to his CSK mates). First, a message from Raina: "Good morning MS!!! Good morning all! Hope you have a wonderful day today. Lets CZ da day. Pats on the back n u no where!" Next one from Jadeja: "hI R U UPS IM UPS OK" More messages from Raina and Jadeja. Dhoni quickly scrolls through, doesn't reply. Then a message from Virat: "f*cked up match in banga, u retired at the right time, chief". Dhoni replies: "LOL". There are other messages, joke forwards from RP Singh, some random cuss words from Yograj Singh, a long one on the powers of concentration and Buddhism from Murali Vijay, and one from Yuvi apologising for his dad's messages.
Breakfast: More milk. Porridge, lots of it. Almonds, raisins, fresh fruit juice, pickle with dal, bhat and tarkari. Talks to his dogs throughout. Has a conversation with his daughter, speaks for both of them. Throughout breakfast more messages from Raina and Jadeja. The TV is on, split screen, an action film in one part and the news in another. Dhoni continues to swap between the two.
Raina appears, he's finished working out, showered and ready to join his mate for breakfast, apologises for being late. Dhoni jokes: "I know, you were too busy sending WhatsApp messages." Raina cracks up and raises his hand for a high five, Dhoni doesn't reciprocate so he massages his skip on the back instead. Sakshi is attending to her daughter, Raina asks bhabi, if he can hold the baby so she can have breakfast instead. "Anyways I love to play with kids, you eat na?" RP Singh walks in, claims he was going past. RP asks Raina if he can attend to the baby so he can have his breakfast instead.
Dhoni sets out for his workout. Mostly badminton with Raina, followed by football with RP and a few kids and guards from the neighbourhood. After football, very briefly hits the gym at home, then more football. RP excuses himself, finally only MS and Raina are playing, penalty shots, short tackles, attackers and defenders. Tonnes of Gatorade throughout, protein powder, chicken sandwiches, a picnic.
SMS from Srini, often a joke between Dhoni and Raina is that "Boss" is still stuck in old ways; they refer to it as "Srini Mama Service"! "I have consulted my astrologer. I think you should fly to Bangladesh on Monday after the Test match. NS".
After taking the dogs and his mates for a walk, MS is set for an ad shoot. He has to ride his bike and mouth a few words. The shoot is done in 45 minutes and he's set for another quickie - this time, walking in uniform holding a lubricant for trucks. Dhoni thinks to himself, when did his ads get so boring? Earlier they used his character, now they just want to see him smile and push the brand. He tells Raina that brands don't know how to optimise their brand ambassadors. Raina politely disagrees and talks about his association with a sports brand; Dhoni tells him that they both are enemies when it comes to endorsing sports brands but when they play for India they both wear Nike. This leads to a long discussion on the commercialisation of sports. Raina is honest in his opinions and Dhoni listens intently. There is a deep regard between the two. Raina looks up to Dhoni like a big brother and Dhoni is always watching over him. Another SMS from Srini. A blank, possibly sent by mistake.
Lunch. Dhoni has his favourite dal and tarkari again, chicken curry, rotis, salad, curd. Some gaming after lunch with Raina and then another ad shoot, this time it involves Dhoni training. MS thinks to himself, how imaginative. Anyway it serves him well as it's also time to train. The adwallahs ask him to play the helicopter shot with a full flourish. The ad agency's creative director adds for emphasis, Phul Phlorish PHUL MAHI! After a few copter takes, they allow him to do his thing. It's yet another collage ad of Dhoni's hits.
Protein shake and nuts and one last ad shoot before dinner. This time for a Gurgaon real estate baron; involves a few stills, some solo, some with RP. This takes longer than any of the previous ads as there are costume changes. Dhoni in maroon kurta for the Diwali ad, Dhoni in a white one for the Holi ad, Dhoni in a suit, Dhoni in yellow, Dhoni in blue.
Once they pack up, they join Raina for dinner at home. Jadeja too has arrived as has Dhoni's favourite butter chicken. They sit round the table and talk Hindi movies. There's some leg-pulling of Bollywood actresses and their associations. Sakshi isn't within earshot but Dhoni doesn't comment, he smiles that smile again. And everything appears good with the world.
Then a message from Yograj Singh arrives. It appears he's been drinking again. Raina asks if his nephew can reply.
(However plausible this might sound, this is largely a work of fiction.)

First published here

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