Sachin Tendulkar remembers his father Ramesh Tendulkar, poet, critic

Sachin Tendulkar WIth father Ramesh Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar’s father, Ramesh Tendulkar, was  a poet, a  researcher,  literary critic and a gentle soul.  He came up the hard way , walking to school  for some 8  km and the same distance back home in  Alibag  taluka in  Raigad district bordering Mumbai.

He also had  a good sense of humour.  He wrote about  the first   poetry recital by  Vinda Karandikar, Jnanpith award winner, way back in 1950.  Karandikar was unknown then and when people saw a hefty primitive type of man  taking long steps upto the stage  there was laughter.  That is because of his name gives the impression  the person is a girl. The real name Govinda but he used Vinda, which sounds like a girl’s name.

   Vinda instantly won the hearts  with his first satirical poem,  in  it the poet tells us to develop a mind, hard like a stone as no sensitive man can  bear the injustices of the world. His poem is widely quoted and is more relevant today.

Ramesh Tendulkar’s memory was fondly recalled   on his 25th death anniversary  on May 25  evening  at a  function by  Sachin, his poet brother Nitin,  Mr Sharad Pawar, former chief minister, at the Mumbai  Marathi Granth Sangrahalaya.

   Ramesh was  a major functionary of  the Sangrahalaya’s  Marathi sanshodhan mandal, research organisation, for  decades. The Sangrahalaya  library is more than a century old and is  centrally located in  large premises in  Dadar east.  Mr Pawar heads the organsiation.

  Sachin talked  fondly of his father who gave him so much love, encouragement to his budding  cricket talent and of the open house  he threw  in  Sahitya Sahawas, a  writers’  housing society in Bandra east.

   Father would always make the postman, a watchman or  a worker sit on the sofa, talked with them  softly.

  In his early days   father lived in a  two room  house in Indravadan society chawl in Dadar, supporting a large joint family, working for the  CID and going to college,  he would quietly study  at home  facing  the wall.

  Later, when he shifted to   Bandra east,  Sachin  stayed in his uncle’s  house in Dadar because that was most convenient with  his  cricket coaching class.  The father and mother would come  unfailing every evening  by bus, train  , sometimes Sachin would have fallen asleep, tired  after cricket,   Ramesh would stroke his head gently.

  Later, when  Sachin began making money and bought a car, he would drop   his father to  Kirti college in  Prabhadevi, before  going for his net practice in  Shivaji Park. Often, the music in the car would be loud but father would not  complain, he would always  keep reading quietly.

   Personally, I knew  Ramesh Tendulkar for several years and he always  had a pleasant smile. As Sachin himself said at the   programme,   his father  prized human  values, money was never his prime consideration . Sachin was in conversation with   Prasanna Sant,  cricket commentator and son of  former cricket  journalist Chandrashekhar  Sant of Maharashtra Times..

Sachin recalled that just as   his father replaced  Surendra Gavsakar in the  research institution,  Sachin replaced  Sunil Gavaskar  as a batsman .

 Raja Dixit, head of the  Vishwakosh Mandal, the government’s  encyclopaedia project,  said though Tendulkar initially worked in the CID   he was of an entirely different type of a man, always open hearted, tender.  Tendulkar also treated   lyricists with respect, not treating them as inferior to poets.

   Dixit’s  father M.S.  Dixit  wrote  a book on the  historical transition of Pune city.   He would have been saddened by the recent changes,  signified most notably by  a brash, minor liquor addict, son of a big builder driving a  costly Porsche car in a drunken  state earlier this week  and killing a young  woman and a man . He was treated with kid gloves  initially by the cops and the juvenile court.

   Pradeep Karnik, a former director of the research institute, thanked  Sharad Pawar for the grant of Rs 50 lakh he had given the Mandal way back in 2016 without any fuss, on behalf of  Vidya Pratishthan.

   Sachin looked pleasant  and relaxed at the function. But his home is   so forbidding, totally inaccessible to any one , unlike his father’s.  One can understand the  high security he needs. But his   building is built like a    high walled prison, completely faceless in  Bandra west. At least this  he  or his advisers could have  easily avoided.  I see it  frequently during my walks and  it is so off-putting.

Vidyadhar Date is a senior journalist, culture critic and  author of a book on public transport

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