Saturday, August 13, 2005

The India diaries III - Dinner with Sachin

We had dinner with Sachin Tendulkar while in Mumbai. Yes, yes, the very same - Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar - object of affection for all cricket loving Indians, highest run scorer in all forms of the game etc. No, this is not just my overactive imagination or the Mumbai malady stomach hallucinations.

OK, I'll admit that it's a half truth. Here's what really happened.

Saturday night. Dinner at Taj Lands End, Bandstand. V's whole family together after what seems like aeons. The in-laws: father, mother, two elder brother, respective spouses and daughter of the eldest brother. Decision is to eat 'Chinese - Chinese' (our term for 'authentic sichuan cuisine') at Ming Yang, where the Head Chef David is known to my eldest brother in-law and therefore always comes to our table to make suggestions on the food like: "I will make for you, no picy or velly 'picy'?'. (At this point my middle sis-in-law and I can only stop ourselves from giggling by sipping at our water and looking at the bonsai on our lazy susan with intense concentration).

Anyway, cut to before we are actually at the table and being picy'd by David. We are waiting in the corridor for our table to become available and who should walk up to us but Anjali Tendulkar. Now, the reason she walks up to us and not right past us is not because we are famous (quite the contrary!) but because above said middle sis-in-law is a teacher at a famous Mumbai school. And Anjali and Sachin's kid was in her class last year. So she walks up to us to say hello to the sis-in-law, is introduced to and shakes hands with my brother-in-law and me, and mentions that they too are waiting for their table at Ming (where no doubt David will suggest the level of 'picy' for their table as well). She leaves saying she will come over and say hi again before she leaves. At this point I'm already gobsmacked. I've met met and shook hands with Sachin's wife's hands. That's like shaking hands with Sachin by association!

Sitting down to dinner. The Tendulkars are with friends at a table close by - he is clearly in our view, in my direct eye line, but too far to get anything clearly on our rubbish mobile phone cameras. Atleast we have seen him up close as he passed by us to be seated at his table. Anything more would be too much to ask. Memory is imprinted on eyelids. Good enough.

Then it's David and the 'picy' issue - we decide on a combination of not too, a bit and velly 'picy' to suit everyone's palate. The food arrives. We eat an extremely yummy meal, all the while keeping one eye on Sachin. Order dessert and while we wait it happens. They get up to leave. Their friends drift to the door and Anjali begins to walk towards us. We think aaahh, how nice of her to come and say bye. Then we think aaaahhhh, (more like yikes!) that's Sachin following her. Panic strikes and those 5 strides toward our table seem like they are from a slow motion movie. Nobody at our table can quite believe it and we remain pinned to our seats as my sis-in-law stands up, quickly followed by her (smart) hubby. Anjali introduces them to Sachin, who shakes hands with both and then turns to us. He says 'Hi' to everyone with a small wave and huge smile on his face. We all mumble back a feeble (collective) 'Hi' as best we can muster (what with our jaws actually stuck between our knees it's a challenge). Meanwhile, my sis-in-law introduces us, eldest to youngest. When it's our turn she says "this is my youngest brother in-law, V. Remember I told you he often goes to Lord's to watch you play". At this point Sachin says "England are in a very strong position" - obviously refering to the ongoing Ashes 2nd test and trying to make polite conversation. V looks completely dazed, he can't stop grinning like a cheshire cat, but gamely nods and mumbles something under his breath, not blinking once. Then they are gone, goodbyes all done. We remain in shock, convinced that this is THE ABSOLUTE COOLEST thing ever to have happened to us.

Sachin walked up to our table, was introduced, said hi, smiled and waved. He ate in the same restaurant, same 'no picy' as us, same time as us - as good as eating with us. If that is not cool, I do not know what is.

Dessert tasted all the sweeter although really, we didn't need anything sweet for that high!!!
Ming Yang: Taj Lands End, Band Stand, Bandra (W), Mumbai - 400 050. Tel: +91 22 5668 1234


  1. Incredibly Jealous. That's all I can say about how I feel. I am trying to be happy for you, but I just can't :-)

  2. I knew this would happen! I know you are like one of the biggest Sachin fans. But hey, what to do, I could'nt have closed my eyes and said oh no let me not!!!! Maybe it'll be in your India diary next time?!

  3. He really is a nice guy.

    Some day I should post about how he took over my chair when I had wandered off to get a drink, then apologised profusely for a minute and a half when I came back. Interesting, you think? (Kumble was at our table and did not speak a word throughout dinner)


  4. ohmygod. yes that is the coolest thing! the only time I met him (in a hotel loby with three others asking for an autograph) I could not even open my mouth to say antyhing. not even thank you.
    god, this was so cool for you.....!

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  9. Great description and wonderful experience! I wish I were there, who knows, in all my nervousness and excitement, I would have fallen at the man's feet!


  10. Anonymous4:15 AM

    well..from the decription one thing I can make out is that anjali n sachin r very down to earth couple...otherwise who bothers to goooooo n say hi to ur childrens teacher.esp wen the person is of the stature of sachin tendulkar. anjali seems to b very huble n well behaved lady...n a gud mother also.

  11. Surely this is the coolest thing ever. Sachin is so humble. I managed to catch up with him in a hotel lobby but I was so tongue tied Ic ouldnt even say anything but " you are my greatestinspiration" He said thank you and asked me my name. I could even recall my name.......this is sooooooooooooo coooool.Just goes to show why sachin is greater than all...not only is he the best batsman he is also a very cool and modest human being.

  12. Wish twas there to see it all..