Early cricket days… nice grip and grit, at age 4!; Capped as a captain(Right)
Deanu (short for Dean Joseph Pereira), as he is fondly called by all –is a multiple talent from birth. His mercurial activity was perhaps the reason why he expedited his arrival into the mother earth from his mother’s womb by over 2 weeks. He was born on the 16th of March 1993 in the same ward of the same hospital as his mother Wilma Pereira nee D’Souza, in the cool and calm surroundings of a sleepy but picturesque village, Kinnigoly. His dad, Agnel Pereira, from Urwa Mangalore, was working in Bangalore at that time.
As a Piscean, Dean’s restlessness could easily be attributed to his sun sign, fish. Right from day one he was as calm as a fish in a pausing mood, but equally fast and restless when the mercury would move up his head. He even kissed death narrowly, when he touched the power of an electricity cord at 8 during a vacation in Mangalore and was saved by just Divine providence through his mother’s presence of mind. His activity was such, as Wilma and Agnel recall, that as a baby he would wake up every hour in the night, scream out loud for no reason, forcing them to put him on their laps and put him to sleep, while they would lose a whole nights sleep, every night. They did not know what this boy wanted or what he was upto. Perhaps he wanted to go out there and perform…
He went to school, albeit a nursery, at 26 months and at 3 years, he had joined the Sophia School, Bangalore, where his mother was working. While he completed his first year at Sophia’s, his dad took up an employment offer in Bahrain in 1997 and moved his bed and baggage, from the Garden city of India to this quiet Arab dreamland. This perhaps opened up avenues for Dean to excel. He joined the Sacred Heart School, Bahrain and started to show his mettle right away, winning awards of excellence and proficiency in his studies. He also went on to become one of the junior school prefects, but then that fish in him took over…again... he slowly changed lanes.
As he gradually withdrew from the excellence awards to being a meritorious student (no mean achievement that), and he started moving in the direction of his other interests. The game of cricket always fascinated Dean. The love for the game was but natural as cricket blood flowed and followed, from one generation to the second to the third, as Agnel remembers his father, late Joseph Pereira, was a keen cricketer too. Dean who held a cricket bat at the age of 4 (in 1997) had his photograph with the bat sent to his dad’s idol, Rahul Dravid, who reciprocated with his autographed photo. In Bahrain, Dean started enjoying his father’s active cricket life on Fridays and at 9 years of age, Dean joined his school team. Agnel recalls, “I had the first feel of a seasoned ball (hard cricket ball) only when I went to college, at 16. So for me, Dean’s achievement, playing the hard seasoned ball at age 9 was truly remarkable.”
Going out for a match(Left); The winners of BQC Inter School Quiz in Bahrain, Prathik and Dean, with Agnel, Wilma and Alma (who was incidentally the flag bearer for the School)(Right)
Dean’s real progress in cricket started in 2003 when he started active cricket for his school and later in January 2004 when he was selected as the vice captain of the Bahrain Cricket Academy ‘A’ team that took part in the Under 11 Gulf Cup tournament at Sharjah and Dubai. What an exposure! Agnel who like many of us had always dreamt of going to the glitzy and glamorous, Sharjah Cricket Stadium had the overwhelming joy to see his 10 year old son perform there! Though he was tipped to be a batsman, he took 4 wickets, all clean bowled, at the Sharjah turf wicket on his first appearance and won the Man of the Match award. He later on, through his bowling again, won a close match for his team that took his inexperienced team to the semi finals. First step was well laid out. In batting, he had thrown his wickets away, whenever that mercury returned to his head. His dad and mentor would later calm him down to learn to build a long innings. Agnel always wished his son would bat like Dravid, show all the grit, determination, patience and elegance, as same as the “Mr Cool & Nice” of Indian cricket.
That worked. In the run up for the 2005 Gulf Cup, Dean hit two fifties with the new “steady at start and ruthless at the end” approach which bolstered his confidence. He captained the main team from Bahrain this time, and again, in his first visit this year, won another Man of the Match award, this time through his improved batting ability, by hitting a chanceless unbeaten knock of 87. Disappointingly, his early dismissals through run outs in two other matches cost his team badly, depriving them of a final berth.
While his cricket was going great guns, Dean had simultaneously completed 3 levels of Piano exams conducted by the Associated Board of Royal School of Music, London and had also made an unsuccessful go at Karate. He preferred his cricket bat to be at his defense than a great Karate kick. But the best of his achievements was still waiting in the wings, through his venture into quizzing.
The famous Derek O’Brien Associates hosted the Inter School Bournvita Quiz Contest in Bahrain for the first time, in September 2004. A late and lone entry from his school, and some Divine intervention catapulted Dean into quizzing delight. Two entries originally, with Dean and his eventual partner, Prathik Engineer split, and as their original partners withdrew from the competition, brought the two talented young boys together, with knowledge in areas complementing each other. They won and won by yards!!! First they emerged as one of the six finalists in an 80 team preliminary and then they outperformed the other 5 teams in the finals from round 1 through to round 8. They amazed everyone with their dynamite answers on the stage. Agnel relives that joyful moment, “Normally, I am a positive thinker in life. But even then, I hardly gave these boys any chance in the finals, assuming that an Indian based quiz program would perhaps favour the Indian curriculum schools than Sacred Heart with Cambridge syllabus. All that I asked Dean to do was to be at least a third” This pessimism had emanated from the lack of interest shown by Dean in preparing for the quiz. Dean and Prathik proved that naturalized knowledge base is of greater essence than mugging up.
Though they won the round in Bahrain with amazing ease, they will have an uphill task of competing with the stronger schools from India in the next round of the All Asia BQC which will be held during February. The dynamic Derek O’Brien will be at control once again to the tunes of ‘Bournvita Quiz Contest’. Later, these rounds will be telecast on Sony TV.
While he has achieved all this success, by age 11, Dean remains the sweetest child, at home, at school, with his friends, at the cricket nets, and everywhere he goes. Very understanding, helpful and kind, this is how his parents and close family friends have experienced him. Dean has a talented and brilliant sister Alma Marita who is growing up in every way to be his equal. Agnel and Wilma believe that every quality that Dean has, is a gift of God and blessing of Dean’s grandfathers, both of whom are in heaven abode. Dean’s mannerism and attitude are summed up very well in his own views and actions: “I am enjoying all this success, but I will take it easy, one day at a time, not aiming too high, because it is too early in life. It is the time to enjoy life to the fullest. Whatever I achieve through all this, I thank God for every bit of it, as we do at home for every moment in our life.”
Mangalorean.Com wishes this rising star further glory in his rising career. Dean, Mangalorean.com backs you, to grow and show the world, your Mangalorean flair.