Like the millions of die-hard fans of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, Pune-based Raju Gaikwad too is waiting to see his ‘god’ play the last two Test matches of his career. A bank employee who takes home a modest monthly salary of Rs 20,000, Gaikwad can’t afford to buy a ticket and watch Sachin play live. He will watch the matches on TV, like crores of other fans.
But what sets Gaikwad apart from the other fans is his unique collection. He has over 20,000 photographs of the legendary cricketer — from the time Sachin started making news. It was 1988 when Gaikwad fell in love with Sachin’s batting style, and ever since he has not only collected the sports star’s photos but also enlarged and laminated them and even made several interesting collages.
“I was nine when I first saw him play. From that day on, whenever I have found his photo in any magazine or a newspaper, I would cut and keep it. The collection kept growing and with that grew my fondness for him. When I began earning, gradually, I started finding ways to store the photos,” says Gaikwad, a resident of Camp.
Among his huge collection, Gaikwad’s favourite photos include one in which Lata Mangeshkar is clicking his photo and one that shows Tendulkar with Sehwag, both wearing boxing gloves. “There are also two different photos in which he is wearing a different attire. While one shows him wearing dhoti and a Maharashtrian cap, the other shows him in a Saudi Arabian attire,” he explains.
Due to his financial background, says Gaikwad, even buying a magazine and newspapers has been a problem at times, considering he has family of five to take care of. Gaikwad lives with his wife and three children at his house consisting of one room and a kitchen. The small house has the cricketer’s photos all over it. “Somehow, I have managed to accommodate my collection despite lack of space,” he says, adding that he has exhibited his collection in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Mumbai on different occasions.
The year 2002 holds a special place in