Little Sachin Austin went home a confused yet happy seven-year-old.
Nick Anholt and Veda Austin have no Indian ancestry or connections with India, but for this cricket-crazy Kiwi couple naming their son was a no-brainer. “I always liked the name and knew he (Tendulkar) was going to be one of the greats,” Anholt said even as his son met up with Tendulkar in the innings break.
It was the first time Sachin had been to watch an international match, and he not only got to meet the man he is named after, but witnessed one of his biggest innings.
In the few minutes he spent with his fan, Tendulkar did his best to make Sachin feel comfortable, but the glare of TV cameras and flashes had an inhibiting presence on the youngster as he received a sheet autographed by every member of the Indian team.
“I am happy to get this autograph and I am proud to have his name”. “I want to be a cricket star when I grow up,” was all the third grader from New Brighton School could utter, after some prompting from his visibly proud dad. Characteristically pithy, Tendulkar said, “All the best, do well,” before ruffling his little fan’s hair and walking away.
If you thought the Indophile nomenclature ended there, think again.
Veda-Karan Austin is named thus as her mother was a follower of Vedic philosophy. “I am a vegetarian, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke. This is just a coincidence,” the glowing mom added. “We have named Sachin’s younger brother, my 17-month-old baby, Rama Mohandas (after Mahatma Gandhi).” New Zealand is thousands of miles away from India, geographically, and a different world literally.
But in one Kiwi family at least, the influence of India is felt, stronger than one can imagine.