How would you feel when you have champagne for the first time, and it is poured by none other than Sachin Tendulkar?
Heady, you would say. Absolutely!
The unforgettable moment presented itself when Tendulkar walked into a small function, organized by the travelling Indian media, to felicitate him on scoring his 50th Test century.
He looked a bit uncomfortable as he walked in, smiling at some familiar and some unfamiliar faces. The definitiveness and the conviction one witnesses in his gait while walking on to the cricket pitch was missing. And he stated the obvious soon enough. “I don’t know how to react to it,” he said.
If he ‘didn’t know how to react’, others were simply overwhelmed by his presence. A few senior pros made brisk speeches, but the quiver in their voice was unmistakable.
The younger lot, who had never shared a personal space with the legend, were simply mesmerized. All they could think of was ask for a photograph as they walked up to him with some gift, without realizing cameras were buzzing frantically.
I walked up to him with an Australian cowboy hat, and all I could remember him say was “Thank you, it fits really well” as he donned it immediately.
And then came the best moment of the evening, to me at least, with the legend pouring champagne for everyone. No wonder, the toast raised for his 50th hundred and many more to come was as heartfelt as it could possibly be
While Tendulkar was as appreciative of every small gift and gesture, what he enjoyed the most was a soulful gazal sung by a senior journalist. The maestro, who’s known for his love for music, was all ears.
“You must be practicing daily to sing that well,” he remarked with his trademark smile on his face.
And before he walked off, he gave the gathering another high. “I must thank you all for playing a role in helping me reach where I’m today.”