Sachin Tendulkar: 10 anecdotes that underline the fantastic human being the maestro is

Sachin Tendulkar turns 42 years old today — April 24, 2015. Through a long and successful career, he has conducted himself exceptionally well and been a shining example for the masses.

Nishad Pai Vaidya recollects 10 incidents where Tendulkar showed why he was not only a great cricketer, but also a fine human being who remains grounded despite the fame, riches, status and achievements.


1:  Gratitude for the nanny

Tendulkar was the youngest child in his household. His middle-class parents were both working and thus had to appoint a nanny, Lakshmi Gize, to look after young Sachin. She took care of him till he was around 12 years old. Years later, Tendulkar’s actions still reflected his gratitude for the lady. “When he got married, he sent a special car to pick me up, served me food himself and put the first morsel into my mouth. Even later, if he ever saw me on the street, he’d get out of his car and touch my feet. Just like his late father, who was truly a devmanoos (Marathi for: Godly man),” she told Times of India in an interview.


2:  Remembering the uncle and aunty

Tendulkar moved in with his uncle and aunt as a young boy as they used to live close to Shivaji Park, where he used to practice. He has always had a great sense of gratitude for his uncle and aunty and mentions them in every speech where he has to thank people behind his success. Even in his farewell speech, he spoke about his uncle and aunty immediately after he spoke about his parents and before mentioning his siblings, wife, children and coach Ramakant Achrekar.


3:  Recognising the unsung heroes

The groundsmen and the curators are often forgotten after a good game of cricket. They are the unsung heroes of the game. Tendulkar, however, has always shared a special bond with the groundsmen at the Wankhede Stadium, who have watched him grow since he was a schoolboy-cricketer. In 2012-14, he handed over his whole season’s earnings from domestic cricket to the Wankhede groundstaff. And, even before retirement, he handed them an envelope containing cash.


4:  Interacting with the oldest fan

In 2010, Tendulkar met the 87-year old Saraswathi Vaidyanathan, who was one of his biggest fans. Despite her age, she had kept a track of Tendulkar’s stellar career and knew his numbers by heart. Tendulkar had visited Chennai to play for the Mumbai Indians against the Chennai Super Kings. Tendulkar wascaught up with various engagements, but he took time to meet his old fan and fulfil her wish of meeting him once in her lifetime.


5:  Sudhir Kumar gets to pose with the World Cup

On April 2, 2011, Tendulkar achieved his lifelong dream of winning the World Cup. What made it even more special was that he won it at the Wankhede Stadium, his home ground. Amidst all the euphoria and celebrations, he walked out of the dressing room and called for Sudhir Kumar, who is perhaps his most famous fan. Sudhir has come to cricket grounds for years, painted in the tri-colour. Tendulkar called him to the dressing room and posed with him for a photograph, allowing him to lift the World Cup. It shows that Tendulkar did not forget one of his biggest fans even when he was on top of the world.


6:  Raju Kulkarni’s son gets a ride in the Ferrari

Raju Kulkarni, the former India fast bowler, was one of Tendulkar’s earliest teammates in domestic cricket. Over the years, they have kept in touch despite Kulkarni moving away from cricket. Tendulkar knew that Kulkarni’s10-year-old son is a huge car aficionado. When Tendulkar’s Ferrari was being delivered, he promised Kulkarni’s son a ride. Tendulkar was supposed to arrive at around 1.00 am from Australia but his flight got delayed. Kulkarni asked his son to go to bed as it was unlikely Tendulkar would come at that hour after such a long flight. But, Tendulkar did! He showed up with his Ferrari and took the young boy for a good drive around Mumbai city at 4.00 am!


7:  Personally calling all those who helped to thank

Tendulkar announced his retirement on October 10, 2013. The same day, he personally started calling all those who have helped him right through his journey. Milind Rege, the former Mumbai cricketer, who had been a selector when Tendulkar was a teenager and also a part of the Cricket Club of India (CCI), told CricketCountry, “Yesterday (October 10), I was about to go on air around 7.00 pm when I received a call at 6.54. It was Sachin. He said, “I’ve called you to thank you for all that you’ve done for me in my formative years, the under-15 days, taking me to the CCI and showing me the way, talking about me for the Mumbai team. I am ever so grateful to you and will always remain indebted to you.” It is amazing, isn’t it?”


8:  Helping Sudhir Kumar out with the visa

Sudhir Kumar had this dream of going Down Under to follow the Indian team during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Tendulkar helped Sudhir by writing a letter to the Australian embassy in New Delhi to expedite his visa process. A normal tourist visa would take a month for processing at the New Delhi embassy, but Sudhir got it in one day. “I am writing to confirm that Mr. Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary has been an ardent supporter of the Indian Cricket Team and has become a national icon due to his enthusiasm,” he wrote the letter and also called the embassy.


9:  Virat Kohli and the threads

After his farewell Test, Virat Kohli walked up to Tendulkar and handed him a few lucky threads his father had presented him. Kohli wanted to give it to someone special and handed it to Tendulkar. Kohli then bowed in respect but Tendulkar picked him and gave him a hug. Tendulkar, however, handed it back to Kohli after a couple of days as he told him that he should not part with something so sacred and personal handed down to him by his father.


10:  Respecting equipment and the platform

Tendulkar respects the game more than anything. The fact that he went and bowed to the pitch after his final Test illustrates it perfectly. He has also tried to impress that sense of gratitude on his younger teammates. When Yuvraj Singh once hit the bat on the floor after being dismissed, Tendulkar was nothappy. Yuvraj said in a Puma video, “Sachin looked at me and he was quite annoyed. He told me you earn your money, you earn your food because of cricket.” Once Ishant Sharma kicked a ball in practice. Paddy Upton remembers Tendulkar telling Ishant, “It is because of this ball that you have what you have got in life, without this ball you have nothing. Treat it with the respect it is due.”


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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45. The above article was first published in CricketCountry)