Just felt like saying it once.Felt good that I know him.
Our association goes back a long way,I think we started as a common
acquaintance,good to know,nice to have…but not much beyond that.
But before i tell you the story,I have to ask you to keep this a secret.
Also I can only use initials and not give out real names of the people around
Sachin lest their privacy is jeopardised.I hope you’ll understand.
Well we started a long long time ago,I think he was 12 or 13 then.Ajit and my elder brother M, go a long way as well.I am H. We were first introduced on the field when Sachin hit two consecutive boundaries and the next delivery he got bowled.
Obviously it was awkward at first,quite artificial I might add,but we spent some time with each other after Ajit and M insisted.Here’s an excerpt of the conversation – though I dont remember the entire bit.
‘ I could have hit him for another boundary – i have done it before as well,he is an ordinary slow spinner after all’ sachin ranted.
‘well he did get you out right ?’ I retorted -that means he is good and you have to give it to him’ i said.
‘ no he is not a good bowler – i don’t know how i missed the shot’ Sachin said gnashing his teeth.
‘if you don’t take him seriously,don’t respect him, chances are you might underestimate or overlook his strengths and could get out.’ I said while walking back home.
In the second innings,it happened again.And this time it was more painful.Sachin and his friend Vinod were batting beautifully together,and Sachin got out on 98.
An in swinging yorker.Something he did not expect.
The sun was blazing down the park.Sachin walked back from the pitch and slumped onto the bench behind.Covering his face.Holding back his tears.
I must admit my heart went out to him, yours would too, if only you had seen his face.We sat there quietly but somewhere our friendship had begun.It took baby steps at first and then giant strides as we spent more and more time together.
Then one day he got a call from a national selector.It seems Sunil uncle had seen him play and put in a word – watch-him – to his peers.Before he realized or could digest the news that he was selected for the national team,a mini media frenzy broke out.
He was nervous,and his english was not all that great,which made him more nervous.We spoke that day about what lay ahead.
‘you know i am excited and nervous both at the same time- i am also very scared – i dont know what i ll do if I fail – it will be so embarrassing for coach,bhai, aai and pa.’ Sachin said scratching his head.
‘Relax and focus on what you can do – and the stuff you can’t – dont think about it.You can bat, you have practiced and do just that.forget the rest.’ I reassured him.
‘so many people will be watching – i am not sure i ll be able to concentrate.’
‘ofcourse you will – remember focus and concentration are the only things you can do – rest is beyond your control’ i said.
‘there is going to be money’ ? he asked innocently.
‘lots of it.’ and that will be your true test Sachin’ i said.
‘what do you mean?’
‘I mean more money will test your strength of mind.So make sure you chase skill and money will follow you.But if you chase money,skill will desert you and once you lose skill money will stop following you.’
It is ironical i had said this to Vinod as well, but he didn’t seem to listen.Or maybe he did but didn’t show it.I don’t know only time will tell.
‘what about fame? will i become famous, what will happen then?’ sachin was now really engrossed in the conversation.
‘yes money, fame and power go hand in hand and they form a lethal partnership – just like you and Vinod.’They are a dangerous combination and destroy any attack just like you and Vinod.’ But if you dont handle them well then they can back fire .’ So be careful because in real life you are alone.’
Sachin heard me out patiently and then said..
‘You know what, I think I’ll stick batting,thats all I know,and the rest I leave it to you to guide me through ‘ Sachin said as he walked into the team bus.
This is the beginning I thought,little did I know what how we would turnaround one day…and make me proud…
– his only friend ..Humility.