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Saturday, 26 October 2013

My Sachin Story - 2

Recently I came across a story which suggested a possible scenario had Sachin Tendulkar not played Cricket for India! A generation for whom Sachin in India colours was as routine as the sun rising in the east, the article produced a chuckle. In my youth I might have actually dashed off an outraged envelope to be considered for publication under ‘Letters to the Editor’ column. Sachin’s is not just a career of a cricket player; Sachin’s is a story of tumultuous changes in the story of Indian Cricket. Correction! A 24+ year career is not just a story but a substantial chunk of history of Indian Cricket!

One among the many dramatic changes I have noticed in Indian Cricket from the time I started following it is the influx of money in the game. Money and Cricket is a done to death subject. The hows, whens, whys of the riches coming in and hence we will leave the same aside except for a small information to put things in perspective. Kapil Dev received a princely sum of Rs.25000.00 on winning the Man of the series award against the West Indies in the 83-84 season! This was the backdrop when the late Mark Mascarenhas made what was considered an insane offer of Rs.100 crores over 5 years to manage Sachin Tendulkar’s endorsement portfolio. If it is quite routine for Indians to feature in Forbes list of highest earning sportspersons today the seeds were sown then! If you assume this note is about the riches that Sachin has earned from the game, every paisa well deserved if I may add, then I must disappoint you. One of the recurring regrets of the young fans of today is that they were not born 10 years or so earlier to see Sachin at the start of his career. History they say lies buried in a library or the archives of a media company. While enough has been written about Sachin the Cricketer, here I attempt to present Sachin the larger than life super star. And in doing so hopefully we will also traverse the journey of the man who from a squeaky 14 year old went on to be anointed the God of Indian cricket and the one who reached the pinnacle of the endorsement gravy train.


The baby of the team takes his baby step in the world of endorsements. Sachin’s first commercial for Band Aid before he even started shaving. As with his cricket so with his endorsements.

The evolution of brand Sachin runs parallel to the evolution of Sachin the Cricketer. One brand which captures this metamorphosis is Pepsi for whom Sachin played a long inning.

As a ‘rookie’ finding his feet in the Indian Team. Marked out for future stardom but still a ‘chotu’ of the team under Azharuddin Sir! (Yes the same Azharuddin! The MP from Moradabad). The film also features a certain Vinod Kambli, the man who once famously said that while Sachin took the elevator, he had to take the stairs. We now know that Kambli in his ignorance took the stairs to the basement instead of the penthouse.

Every boy wants to be Sachin! Every child through the length and breadth of the country spoke with stars in their eyes.  Mala Sachin vahaycha aahe!

And soon even Superstars wanted to become Sachin. Need I say more?

The other brand to encode the remarkable journey of Indian Cricket and Sachin Tendulkar was Boost.

Boost announces the arrival of the new Indian star! The baton passes from the old to the new, from Kapil Dev to Sachin……………………


Carrying the burden of being the sole energizer of a nation starved for success. The lone warrior!

As Indian Cricket evolved from a one man team to Team India it was but natural for Boost to reflect it.  Virender  Sehwag joins the game……….

The man’s consistency and longevity in the game is unparalleled. Sehwag loses his way. Mahi Dhoni makes the entry. Our man carries on…………………..

As the fickle form deserted him, so did many of his regular MNC brands. No offence meant to the brand here but Sachin and Ujala white? Doesn’t sound right!

As he closes on to write the epilogue of a wonderful journey, the last mile will be on BMW! Once a star, always a star!   

As you noticed, the fortunes of Sachin  the player, Team India and Sachin the brand ambassador has moved togather in unison. Sachin brought the Cricketers at par with the stars of silver screen in the endorsement business. Future generations can thank him. The best way to do that would be to bring the same passion, hunger and drive and win for India. The endorsements and the resultant prosperity will follow!


PS: Hope my hard task master is satisfied. Right Senor @RFed1? Thank you @Ket25 for the Marathi.


Chotu: Kid, Child.
Mala Sachin vahaycha aahe : I want to become Sachin

Thursday, 24 October 2013

My Sachin story!

Let me confess! This note is most likely to be greeted with a “Oh no! Not again! Not one more!" But then everyone has a Sachin Tendulkar story which is unique in its own right. With a unique feeling, a unique emotion, a unique flavor. I venture into this exercise on the hope that the multitude of Cricket fans will continue to show an insatiable hunger for the ‘Little Master’. And anyway, like it or not our hero is likely to be the staple diet for a few months to come!

Old folks like me, the 80s generation relate to Sachin in a way which is difficult for the gen-nexts to comprehend fully. To give you just a peep, men of my time consider Sachin the Great Liberator of Indian Cricket at par with the Great Liberalization of the Indian Economy in ’91, just two years after Sachin made his international debut. His fearless approach to batting cloaked with a right amount of technical expertise was at par with recovering the family gold that was pledged by the then Government of India to bail out the floundering Indian Economy. I hope the enormity of the shadow of Sachin’s persona on our lives is established for your understanding, in its entirety.

Gaddaffi Stadium, Lahore in ’89 was the scene where my first memory of the Sachin Impact in my life and on the world of Cricket is sourced from. Sanjay Manjrekar was batting well and was on his way to his first and only double century in Tests. As the Pakistani bowlers struggled to dislodge the Indians, it appeared that the wily Pakistani Captain, Imran Khan was allowing things to drift. For a team loaded with fast bowlers, there was a strange reluctance on Imran’s part to take the new ball which was due eons ago. The equally cheeky and cunning, Javed Miandad’s questioning of the decision brought no response from the captain. Finally fed up with the drift, Miandad confronted Imran on his strange tactics and demanded an answer. From here I will let the reporter covering the game for The Sportstar take over. “Sanjay is already nearing his double and will be out sooner than later. I am reserving the new ball for the chotu who is due to come in next!” No points for guessing who the ‘chotu’ was! And the Imran retort is supposed to have shut up the usual motor mouth Javed Miandad for good!  For the record the ‘chotu’ braved the new ball and finally fell to Abdul Qadir for a modest but well made forty one.

A few years ago I had to take the Mrs to a Bone & Joint clinic in Bangalore as she was complaining of a constant and seething pain in her elbow which no pain killer seemed to cure. After mandatory tests, X-Rays etc, the sagely specialist came to the diagnosis. “She is suffering from Tennis Elbow. The same injury as……..SACHIN TENDULKAR!” The last two words were spoken by him and me in tandem. From that moment the Specialist and I traded places. “I know she must not pick heavy objects like Sachin picks his bat. She should not strain the hand with sudden and swift movements like Sachin does to play the copy book cover drive. She has to give the elbow a lot of rest for nature to cure it in due course unlike Sachin who rushed it!” Post my monologue the specialist nodded in agreement and presented the bill!

The setting was the Eden Gardens in 93/94 for the Hero Cup Semis against South Africa. Self was perched upon the student’s stand. (To the uninitiated the stand for whose tickets you have to queue up at the box office for at least 24-36 hours in those days. Welcome!) Batting first India finished with a less than respectable 193, our man contributing a sedate 15 of 31 balls batting in the middle order.  Post the effort, Sachin disappeared from our collective conscious till his dramatic re-entry in last over of the match. With SA needing 6 runs to win we in the gallery were wondering who would turn out to be India’s match-ka-mujrim. As expected the on field think tank lead by Captain Azharuddin and everyone else were involved in a meeting which would rival an India-Pakistan dialogue over nuclear disarmament. The student’s stand was rife with rumours that the senior bowlers Kapil Dev, Manoj Prabhakar and Javagal Srinath were looking at plausible excuses to not bowl that critical over. You know how we young rumour mongers are! Craning our necks to try and catch the meeting, we presumed or assumed that Sachin had jumped into the middle, snatched the ball and is supposed to have said “main dalega!” Irrespective of whether there was any substance in the rumour or not, Sachin bowled and India won! Eden Gardens those days had cement benches for seats which needless to add were covered with layers of dust. The practice among Eden regulars was to carry loads of newspaper which were laid on the benches and you then sat on it. Same was the story that evening. Post the war cry which announced India’s win, Eden Gardens paid tribute to Sachin that night in a very unique manner. The newspapers were rolled and converted into makeshift torches which were lit up, across all the stands!  I know you are wondering how Sachin would have said those immortal words, “main dalega”. Well, we will not disappoint you! In fact we will let Rahul Dravid tell you how!


PS:  Dear @ThankUAchrekar/@IndianMourinho: You asked for it Mate! Hope this didn’t give you too much torture! 

Chotu: Kid, Baby
Match ka Mujrim: Culprit who lost the match.
Main Dalega : I will bowl.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Be aware of your blind side!

“Be aware of your blind side” said the young instructor during my driving classes a few years ago. Now saying it is of course a lot easier than doing it. On probing on how to be ‘aware’ the instructor came out with a gem.  “Don’t worry, your subconscious will take care of it!” he said. Takes us to the question, then why be ‘aware’ of something which your subconscious will anyway take care off?  To be honest I became ‘aware’ about my blind side only after being reminded of it and nearly ran my car into another. This triggered a few more thoughts on certain routine instances with regards to be or not to be conscious.

One is often faced with such dilemmas in our everyday life when we are not sure how to react. I pen down a few which has often bothered me and how I went about overcoming the same. It has happened to almost all of us when you come across a random acquaintance while going about our activities. An acquaintance whom you have seen many times in the locality or market or bus stand etc without actually knowing him/her. You recognise the person, want to smile at him/her but pull back in the last moment wondering what if the same is not reciprocated. My solution to this is just go ahead and smile irrespective of the end result. If the person smiles back, great. I no smiles result, no loss. After all an oft repeated but frightful chestnut says ‘a smile doesn’t cost you anything but adds highly to your face value’!

The other routine occurrence which many of us would have gone through is a feeling that someone just called you from behind. This happens especially in places where we least expect it to happen. My suggestion is turn back, check and make sure whether somebody is indeed calling you or not. If yes, touch base. If not, go right ahead to wherever you were going.

It must have definitely happened to you some time or the other when you hear a conversation on an adjacent table in a restaurant or on a train compartment or any such random places. The people involved in the conversation are either unaware or are wrong regarding the subject under discussion which incidentally you are familiar with. The impulse is to interrupt/interject and set the record straight. However you hold back because you might be treated as an unwelcome addition or worse still an eavesdropper or a nosey parker. My suggestion is to approach this in a civil manner.  Ask the parties concerned and volunteer to explain. If welcomed, go ahead and do it. If not, thank and make way!

One of the other things I have noticed is the effect of music on as mundane an act as walking. During the days when I did most of my commuting by walk with a mandatory walkman attached to my person, I realized I walk faster when the music was peppy and fast paced while I seem to drag my feet when some soulful number was being played. My steps synchronizing perfectly with the beats of the song. The other walking related syndrome I have noticed is that one has a tendency to inadvertently get into a ‘race’ when one sees a passerby walking besides you, faster than you. Nobody likes to lose me thinks, even in an non competitive ‘race’. The marvel is that the other person in question in most cases reacts similarly.

Psychiatrist or students of this Science may have fancy names for such phenomenon and I hope someone among those of you reading this will someday explain me the same in depth. Till such time all I can say is “be aware of your blind side’!


PS: Hope @FatimaJAX has the answer to one of her queries!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Brat!

“A daughter is more attached to the father and the son to the mother” is the oft repeated phrase in the family circles in India. I don’t know if this has any scientific basis or is a regular entry to the ‘Paatti sonna kadhaigal’ sort of books. Whatever it might be, I am happy to announce it doesn’t hold true in my case. The kids, both the D and the S being Papa’s children. More so in the case of my son.

Though one would like our children to set the bar higher when it comes to choosing their idols, I am also told that the first heros of one’s life are often our parents. So is the case with my son and this let me confess, gives me immense pleasure. The oft and unexpected hugs, the smiles, the kisses that are bestowed on you. Well priceless! And when you see him advertising ‘Dad is my Hero’ on his T shirt, it gives you a joy which belies words. You will be correct if you assume that I am extremely happy with the scenario described above. But with some *conditions apply as they say in advertising parlance.

While this ‘Dad is right’ slogan is fine the difficulty starts when this is taken beyond normal standards. Like when while on a shopping trip the junior goes straight to the apparel brand store which I patronize. While the choice of brand is fine, the difficulty is when you notice that these brands price their children’s range almost at par with those of their menswear collection. I mean such an expensive wardrobe when you know the dude will outgrow the cloths in less than six months. Any amount of convincing is useless and surrender inevitable.

                                                                     The Brat!

We live in an information age. We have lot more avenues to update our knowledge base. Thanks to the internet and burgeoning television channels children are far more aware of things to aspire for. Courtesy the film ‘Cars’ one of the earliest fancies to catch my son was well, Cars. Initially models of cars from the movie and as time went on cars, cars and more cars. He could virtually name every model of every car brand on the roads and possessed a ‘bucketful’ of their miniatures too. It was all so pretty when friends found it very impressive that a three year old could recognize so many models. This was to take a dramatic turn during a weekend ride for a family gathering. While driving through Embassy Road in Bangalore, we noticed a new BMW store that had opened. As expected the son wanted a new BMW car. And as usual I agreed, a visit to a departmental store to pick up a miniature of the same being the routine. Imagine my shock when he said that we go to the BMW store and pick up one then and there! “Let us give them our car (a poor old hatchback) and take a BMW” being his irrefutable logic!

                                                      Roaring for Team India WC'2011

His initiation to the game I love, Cricket was thanks to that massive six hit by a certain M S Dhoni on 2nd April, 2011 at Wankhade stadium. Since then I have been forced to buy more bats and balls than maybe even BCCI! Add the beast called IPL and add the multiple CSK jerseys (“I want it with No.7 and Dhoni written on it only”!) that I have invested on. It was fine till then. But then things reach ridiculous levels when you are dragged out of your bed early in the morning on a weekend for bowling to him. The dude who would need to be literally picked and plonked into the washroom on weekdays before going to school is up before Lord Surya to play cricket. One can accept the ‘punishment’ to this extent but what takes this to torturous levels is that you keep bowling! The rules of the game keep changing as he bats and bats. The Imaginary stumps keep moving away from the areas the ball goes through. The number of overs to be bowled keeps increasing as does the number of balls per over.  Rules pertaining to modes of dismissal like LBW, out to a catch, run out and even clean bowled were replaced with one simple rule: “I will only bat”! You might guffaw at my predicament but try bowling 25352 balls everyday from 5 AM till late into the night, with the venues changing from the drawing room to parking lot to parks to terrace and back to drawing room, and all this on a weekend. I am sure I have your sympathy. I mean even if it is a game vs your son, everybody wants to bat too yaar! And sooner than later your enthusiasm gives way to irritation, anger, frustration and finally resignation! But My Lord will keep batting!


 And finally the day ends and you thank your stars and massage your aching, creaking bones.  But one final duty still beckons. The brat refuses to sleep unless you give him company. And you yet again sacrifice your favourite TV show to take an unscheduled trip to the bed. A mini wrestling bout on the bed and tight hugs later, peace finally reigns. Before switching off the lights you have one last look at the child, sleeping without a worry in the world, with a smile on the face, and all your creaking bones, aching muscles recover miraculously.  You smile at the peaceful look as if it is saying to you “My Dad is my hero”!

PS: I am sure every father reading this will have a similar story to tell. And everyone reading this knows of a loveable brat or two!


Paatti Sonna Kadhaigal: Grandma’s tales.

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