It was at an airport where medical student Anjali Mehta saw the wonder boy of Indian cricket and was floored by the “cute looks” of Sachin Tendukar.
She ran after him screaming Sachin…..Sachin, much to the embarrassment of the 17-year-old Tendulkar. She even forgot about her mother whom she had to gone to pick with a friend.
This story of love-at-first-sight was revealed by Anjali Tendulkar, wife of one of the greatest batsmen in world cricket, at the launch of his autobiography – Playing it my way.
“I had gone to pick my mother and then I saw him and my friend told me he is the wonder boy of Indian cricket. I told my friend, Oh! he is so cute. Then I ran after him and I forgot about my mother,” Anjali said, recollecting the moments.
“Sachin was so embarrassed and did not even look at me.”
Anjali said she managed to get the number of Tendulkar after that, called him and was lucky that he picked her call.
“I called him and said I am Anjali and I saw you at the airport. He said he remembers me. When asked what colour, I was wearing, he remembered that it was an orange colour T-shirt.”
Anjali, now a mother of two, said she was destined to meet him, since on two previous occasions she could have met Tendulkar but could not do so as she was not interested in the game of cricket.
“He was there with Star cricket Club and I was also there in England my dad called me when Indian team was playing. He wanted me to meet the boy who had scored a century but I said I don’t want to meet this boy, I am not interested in cricket. Maybe if I had met, I would have chased him when he was 15,” she said as the gathering listened to the love story with attention and amusement.
Anjali also revealed that how Sachin was scared when she visited his house for the first time, posing as a journalist.
“He was a bit hesitant, he said ‘how can a girl can come to my house’.
Adding to the story, Tendulkar said his sister-in-law guessed that something was fishy in the whole episode.
“She asked me was she really a journalist or something else” Tendulkar said adding that she had seen him giving Anjali chocolates.
Anjali also said it was difficult to be in touch with Tendulkar was on cricketers tours as there was no e-mail, sms and the call rates were very expensive.
And whenever she made calls, she would do so after 10pm, walking out of the campus, a stretch of which was always full of ‘goondas’ in the night, since the call rates were low only at that time.
“Writing the letters was the best option in those days,” she said.
Anjali also revealed that it was she who informed Sachin’s parents that they wanted to get engaged since he was away in New Zealand.
Tendulkar said tell his parents that he wanted to marry Anjali was tougher than facing the most fearsome fast bowlers.
“Indeed it was and that is how I had planned it. I was sitting in New Zealand happily and Anjali did it,” he said.
Anjali said it was tough to be wife of a cricket star.
“People think is very glamorous, but it tough. Whenever your husband gets out early, India loses, you feel personally that you have done something wrong.
“And travelling with kids was never easy,” she said.