This Diwali, Gade Hanuma Vihari is glowing like a diya. Understandably, for the Hyderabad batsman has achieved every cricketer’s dream of playing the highest level of the game and has firmed up his place in the coveted Indian team. He has settled down off the field as well, with life partner Preeti.
“This is my first Diwali after marriage and that itself makes it very bright,” Vihari beams.
“Another good reason is that I am celebrating Diwali at home after a very long time,” says the 26-year-old whose profession demands frequent travels.
So this time around, he’s in for a blast. Err... not quite. Quiet is how he likes it. “I wish a Happy Diwali to people all over the world, especially to those celebrating a light Diwali rather than a sound one. I really support a light and bright Diwali as compared to one with bursting of crackers,” he says.
Vihari has made much noise on the field though, especially in the Test against West Indies in Jamaica where he hit a maiden century and followed it with a half-ton in the second innings at Kingston to fashion an emphatic Indian win. “The past year has been wonderful. It’s been a great journey in which a lot, almost everything, happened to me. I have played the highest format of the game, scored a century and all’s been going well and good so far. I can’t get greedy though but wish this Diwali will bring much more brightness in my career, which has just about started,” he grins.
He gently adds: “I want to improve in all the departments, on and off the field. I want to be a better player, a better person.” A brighter one too.
There is no permanent Light in life
Darkness to light is how we handle our weak moments and convert them to our strengths. I lost a family member to suicide and many of my films successes were credited to the leading men. It used to hurt me and I realized that to sustain myself and reach a greater platform I can’t keep fighting a system, instead I learnt to make peace with it. We mustn’t keep grudging another’s success or wealth or rise to fame. Being content and pursuing my own dreams and path has lead me to be where I am. That moment when I switched my attitude defines the Deepavali spirit to me. I conquered my fears and found myself my own path.
‘I lit my own path’
When my dad left us in the middle of nowhere in 1986, we were rudderless and had to grapple with a future staring bleakly at us. But I pulled through and today I am proud to say I took on the role of a breadwinner and fought all odds. People often talk down to women in cinema or glamour world, but they forget our journeys are all similar and that was my moment of light, when I realised no matter what, we must live to find a better tomorrow.
Silence is power
Everyday is a darkness to light moment for me. I face each challenge as a woman to overcome them with dignity. There are times when people second guess my intentions or doubt my abilities, even today. I emerge by focusing on my talent and intelligently handle ignorance. I realized never to hit back at anyone being harsh or critical, that ability to use silence as a powerful response signifies the soul of the Deepavali flame for me. That light shines bright and in it we find warmth, wealth and celebration.
Family above everything
Working on Bahubali was the reason I was able to develop a new perspective toward cinema. It was like film school for me. I was truly inspired by the work ethic of director Rajamouli and that fuelled my worked on Kshanam. There’s been no turning back since. So, yes, it’s been great professionally, but the only thing I wish is that I had my family with me here this Diwali. I believe there’s nothing more important than that. Of course, it’s important to be busy and to work towards your goal. But I think it’s equally important to take a moment to think about the little things in life, too. Those few minutes each day can even make a world of difference to your parents, friends or anyone else who loves you. And what better time than Diwali to think about family?”