After a lot of excitement, by stealing whatever little time possible and taking over a month’s time, I finally completed reading Playing It My Way – the much awaited autobiography by Sachin Tendulkar. And here’s what I feel about it.
What to expect from the book?
And I have to confess when I picked up “Playing It My Way”, I was not too sure as to what to expect out of this book. This was after all the autobiography of Sachin Tendulkar, one of the greatest cricketers of all times, one of the greatest sportspersons of his generation and a legend in every sense of the word. My expectations from this ‘autobiography’ got biased thanks to the other ‘autobiographies’ I have read. Those have been about people about whom I have learnt most of the things by reading their ‘autobiographies’ and by reading a few other sources. But ‘autobiography’ of Sachin, well, I have grown watching him play, right from his debut series against Pakistan to his last series against the West Indies.
Like countless Sachin fans I have been following his life on an almost day to day basis. And thanks to the overly crazy and weird Indian media and the world media too, each of his moves have been documented and shown as ‘breaking news’ for close to quarter of a century. Under the circumstances, what was it that I was hoping Sachin would tell us through Playing It My Way played on my mind.
There is plenty
Yes, thankfully there is plenty and Sachin has shared a lot of stories in Playing It My Way but he has refrained from sharing a few as well. He himself has mentioned that it may not be appropriate to talk about some of the stuff for some reasons. But still you will find a lot that you never knew before and I am sure like me you’ll love it too.
Sachin Tendulkar’s early life, his growing up years as a cricketer before he made the India debut has some many interesting stories and incidents which make him so human. He has been revered as a God in India and when you read in Playing It My Way about the struggles he had to go through, you’ll be humbled. And you’ll know why he himself comes across as such a genuine person every time you see him on your TV screen or read about him in a newspaper or a magazine.
When he talks about his playing days as a cricketer representing India, you’ll find a lot of things you may know though not entirely but to a good extent, thanks to the constant media eyes that followed him. However, reading about the pain he went through while fighting through the periods of injuries would surely be something you would have not known earlier and will make you respect him more.
Then there are many interesting incidents not related to cricket that he talks about which make Playing It My Way an interesting read. Though perhaps to keep the focus majorly on cricket, he has even included match statistics/score cards which I personally did not spend any time reading or going through. But for those who are number freaks, this will serve as a ready source of information.
His first runs, his first century, his record breaking moments, his record making moments, his extraordinary performances, his triumphs, his failures (yes he did have those too, and he talks about them as well), Sachin takes the readers through his life, his journey in a smooth fashion in Playing It My Way. Sometimes it feels like a straight drive, at times a nicely timed pull, a perfect flick or a cover drive, and it always feels like magic which used to flow from his bat.
The partnerships.. The scandals.. The speculations.. The misses..
Sachin enjoyed countless successful partnerships between the 22 yards and he talks about those. But the one he undoubtedly cherishes the most is the one with Anjali, his wife. There are innumerable stories on how they met but Sachin shares the real story and it’s as remarkable as it should have been.
He also talks about a few scandals including ‘Monkeygate’ but has not talked about ‘fixing’, a scandal perhaps many were hoping to read a lot on. But this is his story and he chooses to share the way he wants.
One of the stories you will surely enjoy is his 194 not out in Pakistan. He has quite frankly talked about his displeasure and ‘leave me alone’ talk with Rahul. Inspite of this, their friendship remained strong as ever.
The later part of Playing It My Way could be the main highlight for many. You are likely to get emotional (once again) reading his farewell speech even though you would have watched it live on TV, read it on WhatsApp (like I did) and gone through it time and again. And you won’t mind reading it time and again and then again.
Go ahead, read it
In Playing It My Way I am sure there is something new for every reader. I for one have decided to refrain from mentioning anything specific here, be it the well-known or the unknown facts. After having had the privilege of having read Sachin’s life in his own words through Playing It My Way, I can vouch that once you have read it too, your love and respect for him is going to rise more. He comes across as as ordinary or simple or common as a person could be and at the same time he becomes even more extraordinary or to put it rightly he justifies being the ‘God’ as so many of we Indians revere him as.
My advice, go ahead and grab a copy of Playing It My Way for yourself, read it and if nothing else you’ll at least feel a strange kind of pride, a pride that comes from knowing Sachin ‘the person’ a little bit more.
Read my review on goodreads too..