On 16 November 2013, a teary-eyed nation bid farewell to a legend as he stepped off the turf he had dominated for 24 long years. He, in turn, thanked all those who had stood by him through a journey unparalleled in popularity.
"I want to thank all the people who have supported me endlessly, whether I scored a zero or I scored 100 plus. I’ve met so many guys who’ve fasted for me, who’ve prayed for me, done all sorts of things for me. You know, without all that, life wouldn’t have been like this for me.”
The memories that you’ve left with me, will always be with me forever and ever. Especially ‘Sachin...Sachin’, which will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing. Thank you very much. Goodbye.Sachin Tendulkar
For Sachin's birthday, we at The Quint decided to put together a special gift for him. We asked diehard Sachin fans about the most memorable things they had ever done for their cricketing idol.
Dear Sachin, this one’s for you.
Travelling Ticketless, Destination: Sachin
Diehard Sachin fan Vishesh Agarwal writes on how an impromptu plan saw him bunk university, and travel without a ticket from Vellore to Bengaluru, to catch his idol overpower the Aussies on home turf.
It was the autumn of 2010. I was 20. India were facing Australia in the second test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the Chinnaswamy. The match was nicely poised, heading into the fifth day. Tendulkar had already scored a double hundred in the first innings. Sensing an impending Indian victory and Man of the Match award for Sachin, a fellow Sachin bhakt and I spontaneously decided to travel overnight to the venue. We took the night train from Vellore (where we were studying in college) to Bengaluru.
We did not have a ticket and there was no other option at night, so we just got on the train and stood next to the toilet in the crowded general compartment for the length of the five-hour journey.
A 228 km train ride later, we scrambled to the stadium, bought tickets on the spot, and just about made it in time for India's run chase. The master repaid our faith by scoring an unbeaten match-winning fifty, and bagging the Man of the Match award. The icing on the cake was when our poster was shown on the giant screen!
Bunking classes had never been sweeter!
‘A Handwritten Book for You, Sachin’
32-year-old Koilada Manohar is an Airman of the Indian Air Force and unarguably one of the biggest Sachin Tendulkar fans you’ll ever meet.
For years, Manohar had registered diary entries about Sachin, in a labour of love that became a handwritten book celebrating the Little Master’s exploits. At around 150 pages long, it was quite the fan feat.
- 01/06Manohar’s Sachin Diary (Photo Courtesy: Koilada Manohar)
- 02/06Manohar’s Sachin Diary (Photo Courtesy: Koilada Manohar)
- 03/06Manohar’s Sachin Diary (Photo Courtesy: Koilada Manohar)
- 04/06Manohar’s Sachin Diary (Photo Courtesy: Koilada Manohar)
- 05/06Manohar’s Sachin Diary (Photo Courtesy: Koilada Manohar)
- 06/06Manohar’s Sachin Diary (Photo Courtesy: Koilada Manohar)
So in 2006, when Manohar finally got the opportunity to meet his idol, he made the most of it. He showed Sachin the book. But even writers of fantasy couldn’t have scripted what happened next any better.
Sachin took the book and kept it with him for the next three days. At the end of it, he met Manohar once again and told him that he had read every page of it – from cover to cover.
He left an overwhelmed Manohar with the following note on the ‘Acknowledgments’ page of his book.
Dear Manohar, thanks a lot for all your good wishes and support. It is well wishers like you who inspire me to go out on the ground and perform. My best wishes to you and your family.Sachin Tendulkar
You can’t end a fairytale any better, can you?
'The First Name I Ever Uttered...'
My father, Sugata Bose, writes to me on how I started off early as a Sachin fan. Like, really early.
“You were just under two and a half years old. Believe it or not, you were a pretty avid watcher of Sachin's blistering batsmanship by then, sitting on your grandfather's lap or beside his chair on the floor, eyes glued to the television.
One day around August 1995, you were sitting on my lap with the front page of The Telegraph newspaper spread out on the table. You leaned over and with your little index finger pointing close to a photograph of Sachin Tendulkar at the top of the page, clearly and slowly said, "SA--CHIN," with a distinct gap in articulation between the two syllables.
It was indeed, the first proper name you had ever uttered!
As I write this more than 20 years later, I can see it all happening, as fresh as it ever was. The first clear sign of what a huge Sachin fan you were going to grow up to be!”
When Bhagalpur Fought a Power Cut Against Pakistan
Long-time Sachin admirer Vaibhav Jha recalls how several families of his colony came together to ensure that power cuts could not prevent them from watching Sachin demolish the Pakistani bowling attack in the 2003 World Cup.
It was 2003. I was eleven. And the World Cup had brought upon us the first match between India and Pakistan since the Kargil war.
The tension and excitement in the air was as palpable in my cricket-crazy town of Bhagalpur in Bihar as in the dressing rooms of that dreamy, picturesque Centurion stadium.
I used to live in the Professors’ Colony, and we had been facing a power crisis for the past twenty days. All through the previous league matches of the World Cup, we had to fall back on radio commentary and the next day’s newspapers. But the tie against Pakistan was special and there was no way we could afford to miss it.
Before we knew it, a number of families had pooled in money to buy an inverter. The power went off as usual, but the inverter ensured that the one ‘public’ black-and-white telly placed in the colony ground did not disappoint.
And neither did the Little Master. Oh, that unforgettable 98!
Superstitions...Sachin Ke Liye
Science and superstition may be at right angles, but Sachin fans often weren’t as cynical.
During his school’s summer break, 7-year-old Angikaar Choudhury liked to go out and play in the morning. On one such day in the summer of 1998, as Angi played in his neighbourhood, Sachin scored a big one on the international field. Angi’s mother added two and two.
Every time Sachin was to walk out on the field, her son had to be outdoors playing – for Sachin’s sake.
The superstition stuck. I couldn’t come into the house while Sachin was batting. I had to stay outside and play until Sachin was dismissed!Angikaar Choudhury
In Bhagalpur’s Professors’ Colony, the onus of Sachin’s success was shared by two “aunties” who stopped watching TV as soon as India’s batting started.
I was later told that it was due to some jinx they believed in – whenever they watch Sachin bat, the poor guy gets out! They preferred to not watch his batting, and wait till he gets out so that Sachin can post a good score instead.Vaibhav Jha, Sachin fan
Once again, Jha recalls the night of the 2003 World Cup clash against Pakistan. “The two ladies kept pacing throughout Sachin’s innings, taking rounds of the colony ground. They stopped after every 2 or 3 rounds, to enquire about the score. But never did they glance towards the television set we were all glued to. At least not while Sachin was at the crease!”
“The superstition was no less among those watching either. Pin-drop silence was maintained in the colony ground as no one dared to move or change their positions all throughout Sachin’s innings. At the most, we clapped politely when he hit a boundary or a six. But the celebrations were almost muted in the fear that he might get out in the next delivery.”
Once we crossed the finish line though, our celebrations knew no bounds – sweets were exchanged, crackers were burst, and yet again, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was thanked. Profusely.
Studies Can Wait, But Not Sachin
Engineer turned sports journalist Narayanan Subrahmanian reminisces how academics invariably took a backseat when Sachin took to the crease.
It was probably not a wise idea to leave my study table and watch cricket when you have more than half of the modules to go through on the eve of an exam, but I had no other way because a 36-year-old man was rolling back the years on that night in Hyderabad – smashing an incredible 175 against the Australians.
It was not any wiser to leave my Engineering final year project work in jeopardy and get seated in front of a TV set in the canteen. But when he, at the peak of his powers in his so-called second wind, lofted Charl Langeveldt over mid-on on the rise, I sensed something special was coming. I ordered one cup of tea after another and he hit one boundary after another. After some ten chais, I got to see the first-ever 200 in ODIs. To hell with the project!
Following Sachin, From 13,000 Kilometres Away
Kolkata boy Ratik Dugar writes on the all-nighters he pulled for Sachin after moving from India to Indiana.
At the age of 18, I moved to the US for my undergraduate studies, and due to the time difference, most of the matches India played were telecast overnight.
Well, that didn’t stop me from staying up all night to watch Sachin bat, even if I had class the next day at 7:30 am.
And why should it have? Sachin never let age or injury stop him from giving his best, time and time again for India. The least I could do was sacrifice some sleep, to enjoy watching his straight drives and backfoot punches. I introduced some of my American friends to the sport and it didn’t take them long to understand that Sachin was the Jordan of Cricket. Such is his influence that all of us watched him from thousands of miles away, eagerly expecting his 100th century, or postponing meals to watch him play his farewell test match.
When Sachin Smiled Back...
I remember going to a Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders match at the Eden Gardens and holding up a belated happy birthday placard for Sachin before the match began. Unbelievably enough, Sachin happened to be near our block and he looked at the placard, smiled and waved back! I could not believe my eyes. It will undoubtedly remain my craziest and favourite moment ever as a Sachin fan.Ratik Dugar
‘Asli Nahi Toh Wax Hi Sahi’
Sachin fan Pranaadhika Sinha Devburman describes the lengths she went to in order to pose with a statue of her childhood favourite.
A wax statue of Sachin had been placed at the City Centre mall in Kolkata, and nobody was allowed to touch it. However, I chose to break the rules, if only to do a little dance around my hero. A friend and I hung out at the mall till midnight, and watched a late night film in order to pass the time. We then exited the hall, and made a beeline for the statue. Once there, we took selfies with Sachin, imitated his most famous ads – such as ‘Boost’ and ‘Visa power’, and made complete fools of ourselves. Unfortunately for us, the security guards saw us, but later, they too calmed down and shared their love of "Sachin da" with us!
Happy birthday, Sachin! And thank you for all the joy you bring into our lives!
What’s the most memorable thing YOU have done as a Sachin fan? If you're writing about it on social media, tag @TheQuint and let us know!
(This article was first published on 24 April 2017. It is being republished on Sachin’s 50th birthday.)