iconimg Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mugdha Variyar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, November 13, 2013
When Nikhil Tendulkar, 36, was travelling home late from work in his company car during Ganpati visarjan this September, his car was stopped at a police nakabandi in Kandivli. When the driver could not produce all the necessary documents, the police official then asked for Nikhil’s identification card. Almost instantly, the policeman assumed a different tone and asked him, “Are you related to Sachin Tendulkar, sir?”

The star batsman may have his own reputation among his fans, but his legacy has rubbed off on those who share his surname as well. In small ways or big, the name is definitely an advantage in sticky situations, as Nikhil said. “We were worried if the police official would let us go, since the driver did not have documents. But when I told him my name, he let us pass.  I told the police official that I hail from the same town as Sachin — Bhalavali,” said the Vasai resident who works as a senior executive with a food product company in Powai.

The famous surname’s weightage is not restricted to the country’s borders, and a recent experience by Nikhil’s cousin Reena illustrates just that.

“When I visited the United States with my family last month, the immigration officer who checked my passport promptly asked me if we were related to Sachin. He even went on to have a conversation with us about cricket. It was such a proud feeling to be recognised as citizens of a country that Sachin hails from,” said Reena, 24, a Goregaon resident.

Amruta Tendulkar, a Powai resident, had a similar experience when she was in London early this year. “I had called at a restaurant to make dinner reservations. When I asked for a reservation as A. Tendulkar, they wanted to know if I was related to Sachin,” said Amruta, 26, who works as a corporate secretary at an IT firm. “Everyone, from a security guard to a director of a company has asked me this question with unabashed enthusiasm,” she said.

Nikhil says sharing a name with the cricket star also brings a sense of responsibility. “People expect you to be good with your work and I feel responsible to keep up the reputation of the name,” he says.