`India breathes normally’ tweeted Amitabh Bachchan. Yes indeed. Sachin Tendulkar spoke exclusively to Tenali Rama, after scoring his hundredth ton against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup today.
Tenali Rama : Sachin Tendulkar, Many many congratulations. Can I shake your hands once more? Don’t worry I am as straight as your straight drive.
Sachin Tendulkar : (Smiles)
TR : I won’t ask you if you are happy, we were taught in journalism school never to ask that stupid question. So what were you thinking when you were in the 90s?
SRT : Eh? What kind of a stupid question that is. I was counting. 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100.
TR : Yes, of course, yes of course. Did you feel any different today from the previous 99 occasions?
SRT : Yes, yes. My hairstyle was different so sure, I felt very different. I felt good. I felt great.
TR : Indeed, it is looking very good, Sachin. All straight hair. Would you also say this century is more precious than the 99 before?
SRT : Of course it is. You see out of my hundred 100s, I have scored 20 of them against Australia. and 17 against Sri Lanka. So now you see why I wasn’t keen to score in Australia. Or even in the first game against Sri Lanka here the other day.
TR : Wow ! Imagine, none of us in India realised it. Respect, Sachin.
SRT : (Blushing) So I was determined to score against Bangladesh. They shouldn’t feel left out. After all, I vaguely remember they were also once part of India.
TR : And they were once part of Pakistan also, don’t forget
SRT : Pakistan? Really? When?
TR : From 1947 till 1971
SRT : Oh, dunno. My happy birthday was in 1973, you see.
(Suddenly I see Sachin’s phonelight flashing in his shirt pocket)
TR : Hey Sachin, think you are getting a phone call. (The interview is interrupted by a phone call from a New Delhi number)
SRT : I did not put my phone on silent, why didn’t it ring? Yes, that’s me. Yes Sir, Yes Sir. Thankyou Sir. Sure. Oh. Oh. Oh. No. Thankyou. (the phone call ends) That was our Prime Minister. But strange, why didn’t the phone ring?
TR : What did he say?
SRT : He congratulated the leadership of the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for creating the right environment for me to score the hundredth ton.
TR : Oh.
SRT : He thanked me for scoring the 100 today, said something about some budget and that if he knew I will score my 100 today, he would have levied more taxes.
TR : Oh, yes, today the Union budget was presented by Pranab Mukherjee
SRT : Oh, is that so? Have they reduced or increased taxes on fast cars? And home loan? This Ravi Shastri never tells me the latest news. And yes, you may be interested in this. Mamata Banerjee called me a while ago. She has promised me free travel in Mumbai local for 100 days in a year, on behalf of Railways ministry.
TR : Did anyone else call you?
SRT : I got an SMS from Narendra Modi saying : “Welcome to Gujarat”. And another one from Bal Thackeray which said : “Come back home. All is forgotten.”
TR : Wow, that is magnanimous.
SRT : By the way who is Arindam Choudhari? He has sent me a legal notice in a court in the North-East, alleging that I caused him huge financial loss.
TR : He owns IIPM, a management institute. But how?
SRT : He says he was writing a book `A century for Sachin : How to score your 100th 100′ and now he will have to shelve the book. I told him, I give thorns to competition.
TR : Finally, Sachin, tell me, will you sleep peacefully tonight?
SRT : Don’t ask me personal questions please.
TR : Ok, let me ask you is retirement a thought that crosses your mind?
SRT : Hmm, yes of course. I do not see myself playing the 2023 World Cup.
TR : That’s breaking news. Sachin not to play 2023 World Cup. Thankyou Sachin. And I love your hairstyle eh. Nice straight hair.
SRT : (blushes)
TR : No, no, I am straight.