just another fan -> 'i-like-Sachin-of-the-old-nowadays-he's-not-that-aggressive-yaaar' fan -> dedicated 'haan-i-remember-all-his-innings' fan -> a serious & passionate fan -> Tendulkar zealot -> Fanatic (e.g. ones who like to use their blood to write letters to ST)
Except the Fanatic, I know people who fit into the other mentioned categories.
I belong to the 4th category. Anyone who have followed SRT's career closely, understands - to a certain extent - the evolution of ST's batsmanship over the years and admires the way ST plays the game will fall into that category. The defining characteristics of a 'serious & passionate fan' are:
- Watches every ST innings. If there is no live telecast in cable, resorts to live video streaming. No live video streaming as well? Cricinfo to the rescue. He will be glued to the text commentary and would squirm in his seat whenever there is long pauses between updates. (God Bless all those souls who stream India matches live online for free...you guys rock!).
- When Sachin plays, nobody says a word in the house. No one should ask the score. No questions about Sachin. "Yenna, Sachin out-aaa?" (Is Sachin out?) is the most provocative question to this ST fan. Once a friend asked me that, I followed up with a barrage of words that would make some sailors feel shy.
- Superstitions: When Sachin is batting: person A (if present) has to sit on the blue stool, person B always sits on the ground, the blinds are half shut, cell phone is in silent mode and the irritating kid from the neighbours is not let into the house.
- Some of us have the 'intellectual' ability to predict how ST will do on the day. From the colour of his gloves, the stripes in his shoes, colour of the grip, the way he looks (i.e. shaven/unshaven, haircut (it's stupid I know!) )...the intuitive mind of this ST fan observes everything and passes a prediction. It is right, most of the times.
- The heart rate is high during these crucial moments of ST's innings: the first ten deliveries of innings, the first few deliveries after lunch/tea/drinks break, vulnerable sixties and nervous nineties.
- Strongly believes that LBW should removed from the rule book. ST has had more than his share of shocking decisions esp the LBW's. It makes sense that it should be banned.
- The least favourite last name is Bucknor. Cricket's Morgan Freeman is a good umpire. Unfortunately his decision making seems to err whenever he umpires ST. The name Steve Bucknor has appeared in the black books of any ST fan numerous times. Thank God he is retiring. Good bye Steve!
26th February 2009. It was the eve of Twenty20 game between India and NZ. G was walking past the hotel where the Indian cricket team was staying in Wellington. By sheer coincidence he met Sachin Tendulkar in the lobby entrance of the hotel car park. G could not believe his luck. He got Sachin's autograph. He wanted a pic with Sachin but his wretched camera wouldn't work. G requested Sachin to sign his arm and told him that he'll get it tattooed. Sachin gave a quizzical look, smiled and signed his arm. Having Sachin Tendulkar's autograph tattooed had been G's long-time dream.
"Sachhiiiiiiinnnn", fans roared. Sachin, with a smile on his face, recognised G in the crowd. G was over the moon. He was initially speechless for two reasons. Firstly, Sachin r-e- m-e-m-b-e- r- e-d him. Sachin, a huge celebrity, meets so many fans everyday. To him G is just another fan. Still, Sachin recalled. Secondly, G got Tendulkar's autograph tattooed the previous day.
"Yes I did". G proudly flashed his tattoo. Sachin gave a hearty laugh and proceeded on. G was overjoyed. Not just because Sachin recognised him and saw his tattoo, but he believed he had done something very special. He believed that the tattoo is the symbol for the admiration he has on Sachin Tendulkar. With the tattoo, he felt he'd made a transformation into the next level in the continuum of Sachin Tendulkar fan.
G's tattoo attracted attention from many people. During the practise session, G was interviewed by Times Now. You may see him on TV or his story published in the papers. G met Sachin later and took few photos with him.
Ganesh with Sachin
Today, G transformed from a true ST fan to something very special - a Tendulkar Zealot. For a very brief moment, Ganesh became Sachinesh.
Good on you mate!
Update 1: Feel free to leave a comment/message to G. He checks this blog regularly. Cheers!
Update 2: Press photo of G and the tattoo. Look at him...he's beaming with pride. LOL.
Update 3: Here is an article by Indian Express which mentions Ganesh's tattoo.