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Tendulkar trip down memory lane

March 24, 2006 16:10 IST

It was a trip down memory lane for Sachin Tendulkar, as he recalled his childhood days during a felicitation function in Mumbai on Thursday.

Sachin Tendulkar at the felicitation ceremony"I am very emotional today. It brought tears in my eyes after hearing my family and friends talk about me," said the master batsman, after being felicitated by the Marathi Sports Journalists' Association in Mumbai on his record 35th Test century, scored against Sri Lanka in December.

He thanked his family, especially brother Ajit and coach Ramakant Achrekar, for their guidance.

"The strength and the support I have received from the family has helped me reach where I am now. My brother Ajit and Achrekar Sir have played a part in my successful career and I am here because of them. I am missing my father so much today. How I wish that he would have been here; he would have been so proud," Tendulkar added.

His mother, Rajni, also spoke on the occasion.

"He was a very mischievous boy. He used to love my food. I especially remember, whenever I used to prepare Aamraas and Poli [Mango pulp and Chapati], he used to stand near the window and shout, 'Look mother what's happening down there', and as soon as I used to go near the window, he would enter the kitchen and eat the Aamraas and Puris," his mother said, recalling Sachin's childhood.

She credited her son for the manner in which he conducts himself despite earning so much success and fame.

"His feet are still firmly on the ground. He still is the same person and longs to spend time with the family. That is the best part about him. But I still get worried when he goes out and is surrounded by a huge crowd. It makes me feel so uneasy."

Lata Mangeshkar presents a golden bat to Sachin TendulkarAmong those who felicitated Tendulkar were legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, who presented him a golden bat, and former India captain Ajit Wadekar, who presented him a citation.

"Earlier I never used to watch much cricket, but with the advent of Sachin I have become his fan and started watching cricket. I even sometimes forget to take my bath or eat my meals, as I hate to get up from the seat while he is playing," Mangeskhar said.

"I just want to ask people to stop writing or saying bad things about him. All these years he has never said anything bad about anyone or harmed anyone. He is such a down to earth person," she added.

Mangeshkar advised Tendulkar not to be bothered by criticism, as everyone goes through ups and downs in their life.

"He calls me Aai (mother), so I have specially come here to ward off the evil eyes and bless him," she said.

The 32-year-old batsman also thanked his wife Anjali for being by his side through the years.

"She has been like a protective wall for me. She is the one on whom I can take out all my frustrations, pains and sorrows, but she has always stood by me and I am grateful for that," Tendulkar said.

He also said his life changed a lot since the birth of his two children -- Arjun and Sara. "It has helped me become a lot more patient."

He credited brother Ajit for the role he played in building his career.

"He was the one who took me to Achrekar Sir. And when I was asked by Achrekar Sir to change school for the betterment of my game, he was the one who convinced my father. He has made so many sacrifices so that I could become a successful cricketer and I can never forget it.

"My other brother, Nitin, has been always been there with his blessings. I also thank my sister, Sarita, who always prays for my well-being and success. 

"Even Achrekar Sir took so much care of me and never let my focus shift away from cricket.

"When I started playing cricket, I still recall, whenever me and my friends used to make plans to go out to eat Bhel Puri, Achrekar Sir, somehow, used to come to know of our plans. He would then rush to my house on his scooter and take me for practice. I used to not like it then, but now I realise the importance of his persistence."

Best friend Vinod Kambli also spoke about his friendship with Tendulkar on the occasion.

A small skit and poems, written by his father, the late Ramesh Tendulkar, were read on the occasion.

Photographs: AFP/Getty Images

Harish Kotian in Mumbai