Playing It My Way…

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.


Playing It My Way

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.

The beginning

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.

The stardom

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.

The records

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 farewell

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..

Playing It My Way: My AutobiographyPlaying It My Way: My Autobiography by Sachin Tendulkar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars…

View all my reviews

Pran, the ‘Pran’ of Children

* Kyun ki Chacha Chaudhary  ka dimag computer say bhi tez chalta hai. (Because Chacha Chaudhary’s brain works faster than a computer). Can you believe this was the reason Pran gave for Chacha Chaudhary being the smartest? And this was 20 or may be more years ago. Who can beat that?  Well, he is Pran, the cartoonist and writer Pran Kumar Sharma, for you.

And not just Chacha Chaudhary. Billoo, Pinki, Sabu, Raman, Shrimatiji.. These names, their lives and that humour.. Pran, an outstanding and perhaps the most lovable writer and cartoonist gave me and so many like me some of the most unforgettable childhood memories. He was such an integral part of our childhood. Him leaving this world has made countless Indians sad and refreshed so many of innocent memories from a not so distant past.

An “influence” like none other

Pran fondly made so many children “happy and innocent liars” and I was one of them, a proud one too. Being two brothers almost of same age meant our home never witnessed a quiet moment. But whenever there would be pin drop silence in our room, my parents could easily figure out that we would be reading Pran’s comics. And when they would ask, we would say in chorus “padhai karr rahe hain” – we are studying. Of course a big sized book always came handy to hide comics in it.

The strongest “bond” among friends

If you had a few Pran’s comics, you would be sure to make a lot of friends. Whenever a new boy would join the class, he could not only make instant friends among strangers, but he could become popular too if he had a few comics by Pran which others didn’t.

Exchanging Pran’s comics was a very common phenomenon. The number of comics that were shared between two guys was directly proportional to the level of their friendship. Similarly, if you didn’t like someone, all you had to do was refuse to share Pran’s comics with him.

Interestingly, talking about Pran’s comics is something that is not uncommon among colleagues in offices, provided you have colleagues who are also more of a friend.

The biggest “leverage”

Having lots of Pran’s comics gave you an edge. You could manipulate so many people. I still remember when I was in 9th class I allowed one of my classmates to copy my English home work for the summer vacations and in exchange he lent me all his comics. Those were the days. I can still remember how many of my classmates who could afford more comics could have their way.

The “innovative” characters

And the characters that Pran created, they were lovable especially Chacha Chaudhary who was awesome. His dog was called “Rocket” – that was so ahead of times. Sabu was an alien from Jupiter – can you believe Pran’s thought process? And “jab Sabu ko gussa aata hai to Jupiter mein jwalamukhi fatata hai” – when Sabu is angry, a volcano erupts at some distant place in Jupiter. This was a classic line.

Billoo, Pinki, Raman, Shrimatiji.. We grew up with these characters. They were such an important part of our lives. And so was Pran. He no doubt was the “Pran” of innumerable happy children. His creations and the memories they gave us will always stay in our hearts and lives.

Growing up with Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh, a one of its kind author who would never mince his words has influenced a whole generation of readers like me who would proudly and luckily claim to have grown up reading what he has written. From a short story – Mark of Vishnu, which was part of our syllabus in school to a regular column in The Tribune – This Above All, to many remarkable books – Train to Pakistan to name just one, Khushwant Singh has not only turned many into avid readers, he has also turned many into worthy writers.

Khushwant Singh on Bournvita Quiz Contest

My first memory of Khushwant Singh could be when he came on the popular quiz show on TV –  Bournvita Quiz Contest and what he said then was a gem of advise – ‘you must read good books and bad books so that you can know the difference.’ I would be lying if I didn’t accept that I have followed that advice and have actually understood the deeper meaning that was in what he said.

Khushwant Singh’s This Above All

Khushwant Singh weekly column This Above All in The Tribune news paper had been one of the most awaited pieces for me in my school days. I was a big fan of The Tribune news paper and his article used to be the icing on the cake. The best part of his feature used to be the kind of randomness or richness (whatever way you put it) of topics he would cover. I would always have a great time reading it. And then every time he would carry a joke sent to him by someone and even that used to be fun.

A world of stories and books by Khushwant Singh

Mark of Vishnu, a short story by Khushwant Singh was just apt for school children and was never lost in the long list of some really amazing stories which were part of our school syllabus. I was impressed by this story. But this was just a beginning. I eventually graduated to reading quite a few other books he wrote, one of the most popular of them being Train to Pakistan.

When I look at all the books he has written – A history of Sikhs, Truth, Love and a Little Malice, and others, I realize I may have read a few but there is a whole lot of them I am yet to put my hands on. But what is also true is that for an author like Khushwant Singh, the credit must be given for not only having written the books that they have written, it has also got a lot to do with the readers and writers they have created. I feel proud and lucky that I have grown up on the writings of authors like Khushwant Singh and I am sure there are thousands if not lakhs like me.

All The Prime Minister’s Men

I found the book “All The Prime Minister’s Men,” to be very informative and startling at many points. Too many historic facts about the Gandhi family especially Indira and Sanjay and about many other prominent personalities and politicians. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to find information on the turbulent past of India even post independence, in fact way after that.

It talks about the deeds of many important persons and quite a few of them are still going strong, in a way. You have to read it to believe it.

This book has increased my curiosity to read more about the India of 70s and 80s. Looking out more books.

On Goodgreads All The Prime Minister’s Men

Top ten must read books

“Books are your never failing friends” – I never knew that a small lesson my voracious reader dad taught me quite early in life would turn out to be one of the fundamental principles defining who I would be one day in my life.

Not that I don’t have friends, I have plenty; not that they have not stood by me, many have and still do; yet the friendship I have built with books, good books to be more precise, (and I feel with their authors too) has come to characterize me as to who I am, what I think, how I think. My whole cognitive faculties are now rooted in the information, knowledge and wisdom I have come to acquire out of the books I have read in my life.

From a habit to second nature

A habit which started with The City of Joy, strengthened with Freedom at Midnight, was further cultivated with To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn, An Autobiography of a Yogi, The Last Mughal, A Tale of Two Cities, The Fountainhead, 1984, Freakonomics, World is Flat and still continues with Millennium Trilogy, Jinnah Vs Gandhi, The Sufis  and The Himalayan Blunder, and God knows what next is to come, became the second nature and has been an integral part of not only my day-to-day life but why personality, my being.

And the list of my friends and well wishers extended from the ones I knew personally to include Mark Twain, Paramahansa Yogananda, Charles Dickens, Dominique Lapierre, William Dalrymple, Ayn Rand, George Orwell, Steven Levitt, Malcolm Gladwell and many thinkers and philosophers, making me proud of having read them.

Sharing the good tidings

Mark Twain said, “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them” and I have lived by that all my life. I also believe, when you know a good book exists, you must tell others about it. The fruits of information, knowledge and wisdom are there for everyone to taste, whether you actually make that effort to taste them is only up to you.

Before I take you through some awesome books one by one, here’s a list of what you can take a look at. I’ll share more on many in times to come.

Shelfari: Books on my rack…

Happy exploring and reading!