On a day meant to honour his late father's talent with the pen, Sachin Tendulkar also paid tribute for the quiet strength of his mother, which had helped him in the darkest hour of his life.
“She played a big part (in making him strong), *akhir khana to unhone hi khilaya* (after all, she's the one who fed us),” he said in a lighter vein before reflecting on his father, Ramesh Tendulkar's death in 1999. The batsman, 26 then, was struck with this personal tragedy in the midst of the cricket World Cup in England, and had to fly back to Mumbai to attend the funeral. Three days later, he was back with the team, and still looked in a trance as he knocked off an unbeaten 140 off 101 balls against Kenya in Bristol and lead India to victory.
“That was the most difficult stage of my life,” Tendulkar recalled in Mumbai on Monday during a function where he released an audio CD of songs based on poems written by his late father.
“At that moment my mom said that even my father would have wanted me to go back and play because if I sit back at home then it would possibly be the worst thing. 'You have to go and play for your country because that is the most important thing' and that made me strong. That support meant a lot because it was a very difficult moment for our entire family and to go and play a cricket match after just three days was not easy.”
The master batsman, who is known to celebrate his centuries by looking skywards, said he's still guided by his father's principles. “I feel that he is with me, guiding me all the time in all the important decisions I take.”