Mumbai Memoir 74 & 75- ‘Sachin Moments’ re-lived in Mumbai through ‘Sachin- A Billion Dreams’.
Mumbai’s cricket culture is obvious when one sees children, & youth playing on any available open space at the car parks, residential complexes or the over-crowded playgrounds of the city. The city has produced many international cricketers like Vijay Merchant, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Manjrekar & the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.
Mumbai’s Shivaji Park at Dadar is referred as the cradle of Indian Cricket. Besides other cricket prodigies, this ground has witnessed the ‘making of Sachin Tendulkar’ right from his entry into the sport, as an 11 year old, till he entered international cricket for India.
At the tender age of 16 years Sachin played his first international Test match for India in 1989 against Pakistan. Facing ace fast bowlers like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, an injured Sachin got excellent exposure of the game and most importantly of the mental toughness required when playing at international levels. In 1990 Sachin scored his first ever Test 100 while playing against England at Old Trafford. By the end of his career Sachin knocked 100 Test centuries in a span of 24 years of his cricketing career. After seeing Sachin’s batting style, the Australian veteran ace batsman, Sir Don Bradman quoted that ‘He plays like me!’ Among many of his records, Sachin also holds a record to be the top scoring batsman in the World Cup Cricket tournaments. To know more about the multiple cricketing records on Sachin’s name click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b2cGh_s07E
Recently a cinema, ‘Sachin- A Billion Dreams’ has brilliantly explored the life and journey of the legendary Indian Cricketer- Sachin Tendulkar. The film belongs to a docu-drama genre and has beautifully conveyed the life story of the ‘making of Sachin Tendulkar’. It was a delight to see the unsung heroes that shaped Sachin’s life in his formative years particularly his father- Ramesh Tendulkar, his brother- Ajit Tendulkar, his coach- Mr. Ramakant Achrekar, his wife -Anjali, members from his friends, family, cricket team/s and the reaction of ‘billion plus’ Indian fans, who believed in his abilities and considered him to be their hero.
After viewing the movie I had so much to reflect on. Being a trained cricketer myself (was selected for Mumbai team through Mumbai Women’s Cricket Association way back in 1992) and also a Psychologist, who has guided few sports related clients, I got enough data to de-construct Sachin Tendulkar’s life like a psycho-analyst would do on his/her couch!
As the film reveals the facts, Sachin as a child was extremely mischievous and I believe, had his energy not channelized into cricket, he would have been yet another school kid who would be ‘black listed’ at his residential colony &/or school for his naughty behaviour. The cricketing ‘spark’ in Sachin was spotted by his elder brother Ajit, who took the initiative and responsibility to make sure Sachin gets the best of school cricket coaching from coach Mr. Ramakant Achrekar. Ajit, himself a club level cricketer then, had the intelligence to spot young Sachin’s talent. I have always believed that like Sachin, there is a lot of talent in children but its important to have a care-taker around who is intelligent enough to spot that talent early and thereby channelize it in a practical manner, like the Tendulkar family did regarding little Sachin. ‘A rich potent seed is useless if the soil and the gardener are not up to the mark to match the standards of the ‘gifts of nature’!
It is obvious that the roots of Sachin’s cricketing career were strong enough to support him consistently for 24 glorious years! It’s a well-known fact that when the roots below are strong and deep, no storm can uproot a tree. I believe, same applies to nurturing one’s career and life in general, as nurturing the roots of one’s talents and making it strong is the key for procuring ‘enriching fruits’ with amazing consistency. Usually a star sportsperson is applauded for his achievements (records, fame, money etc) but very few people are interested in knowing the process that goes into earning those achievements. I am glad that this movie has conveyed the process behind Sachin Tendulkar’s achievements.
The values of hardwork, discipline, single-minded focus, practice and above all ‘of being down to earth’ reflects from Sachin Tendulkar’s nature. Sachin’s family, particularly his father, has certainly helped him stay humble and rooted on the ground as his lifestyle evolved from a shy middle-class sportsperson to a confident multi-billionaire ‘match winning’ cricketer. He acknowledges that his middle-class Maharashtrian values are still helping him to avoid success going in the head. As he quotes ‘Never ruminate on one’s highs nor lows, just learn from them and move on for giving your next best performance’. True that Sachin!
The role of one’s family /early caretakers offering the basic foundations to pursue one’s sport, art, academics or another other talent matters very much. The initial values instilled by family/role models and their timely positive reinforcement certainly makes an affirmative difference. Hailing from a middle-class Maharashtrian family myself, I personally have experienced the support given by my family, particularly my parents and brother, to pursue my art of writing. Since my school days I have been into creative writing and over the years have evolved over it. My elder brother Siddhesh had gifted me with writing tools like digital dictionary, digital notes recorder and various American books which I had asked him to send from time to time.
On writing my 50th article for this website, I had a small home celebration where my parents blessed me and told me to keep writing more! I have always been reminded of the fact that ‘the art is always greater than the artist’ & ‘to serve the art in the best possible manner’. Sachin Tendulkar’s sporting spirit and approach to his game has always inspired me. There are very few good role models in India who have hailed from middle-class Maharashtrian family and have made it big due to their hardwork & positive attitude and stayed on the top in their sporting career for so long. While watching the movie, I am sure like me, many people must have been touched after hearing from the legend himself as to how his dad use to tell him that ‘cricket will be a part of his life but what will always remain with him would be his character’. I could totally relate to the advice which Sachin’s father use to constantly give him, as it’s a known fact that only a person with strong character can apply the values of sincerity, integrity and honesty and stay at the top in his world-class cricketing career for 24 long years!
My very first memory of Sachin Tendulkar dates back in 1990. I was returning from school and on the way I purchased a newspaper named ‘Afternoon Dispatch’ in which I read about the 16 year old Sachin Tendulkar’s achievement of being the youngest Indian player to make an international Test century against England. Since then till he retired in year 2013 I have not missed even a single telecasted performance of his. My personal favourite being the India Vs. South Africa Hero Cup Semi-Final in 1993, where Sachin’s bowling magic is evident in the very last over of the match which turned out to be a match-winner! Here is its link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUS10pp-GC8
Yet another Sachin’s performance which I admire is the Sharjah Cup semi-final played between India and Australia in 1998 which again was a superlative batting performance given by the master blaster. Here’s its link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMubYAbRbgc The impossible was made possible by him single-handedly by which India qualified to get into the final! As I blissfully enjoyed the cinema, the film took me back in time and made me re-live the ‘Sachin moments’ of my life!
Analysing Sachin’s success, its certainly an alignment of various positive parameters. A supportive family, sound socio-economic status, dedicated coach, Sachin’s personal hardwork, sincerity and good wishes and prayers of billions of his Indian fans. Not many would be blessed with such a positive alignment of all the parameters, and even if they were they would anyways had to put in enough hardwork and practice to make the best of their luck. I say this cause, in my research on Sachin I found about Anil Gurav, a young cricketer like Sachin who was trained by the same school coach (Ramakant Achrekar) who trained Sachin. Coach Achrekar considered Anil’s performance and preparation better than that of Sachin and use to tell Sachin to observe Anil and improve. But an unfortunate turn of events at Anil’s home forced him to come out of pursuing serious cricket and instead take up commercial tennis ball cricket which fetched him money on a daily basis. As Abraham Maslow (a well-known Psychologist) would put ‘only after one achieves monetary security (from caretakers or self) then and only then one would be focusing on self-actualization. It’s a known fact that Sachin never played for money (unlike many young cricketers who are mesmerized by the amount of financial gains IPL cricket has brought in India) but its his luck that his family was financially sound enough to initially support him with all his needs to anchor himself as a cricketer. Sachin quotes ‘I always played with an attitude to serve the game and always use to put the team’s victory above mine’. Only a person who has self-actualized his potential and is not working for money can say that. As Alfred Lord Whitehead would put ‘Great dreamer’s dreams are not fulfilled, they are always transcended’!
Feeling sympathy towards Anil Gurav’s story I felt assured of this fact that its not one factor that contributes towards becoming a legend rather its multiple factors that have to come in standard alignment (some in one’s control and some out of control) for people to achieve top level consistent success. Here’s a link to Anil Gurav’s story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMubYAbRbgc I wish talented sportsperson, artists and academic students get empathetic patronage from Government or Corporate Social Responsibility support to encourage talented people to stay focussed on their dreams irrespective of their social conditions being sad or bleak.
Talking about the success of the film, it was made in approx. Rs. 30 crores and within a week the film’s box office collection came up to Rs. 50 crores. Given the genre (docu-drama) it’s a major hit! The film has been released 5 languages. Here’s the film’s trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gTeE6pa4Kg The film’s Director- London born-James Erskine, has created the right balance which was required to evoke the apt emotions while hearing the story of the ‘Master Blaster’. I am sure that the film has touched the hearts of all the cricket fans who saw it. The popular reaction says it all as the film seemed to have connected with the common man, cause cricket is a sport enjoyed without any socio-economic or age bar in India. The film is extremely inspiring just not for upcoming cricketers but also to every common man who is either supporting his/her brother, sister, spouse, neighbour, classmate, friend, team-member to achieve their dreams and also for coaches to be as dedicated as Sachin’s school coach to give the nation a gem sportsperson like Bharat Ratna- Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar!
*Dedicating my 75th article to the Master Blaster- Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin, thanks for giving me the ‘Sachin moments’ of my life!
Photo courtesy: Shraddha C. Sankulkar and free internet resource