The 14th Man
In a year in which Raja and Radia, Modi and Kalmadi, Reddy and Yeddy, tirelessly erased the meaning of the zero, it is poetic justice that the accumulation of just two of them by a middle-class boy born in a writers’ colony should have brought a smile on our lips in its final two weeks. But then, almost everything about S.R. Tendulkar of Sahitya Sahawas has defied the human, which is why his ascent of Mount Fifty has been greeted with vuvuzelas blasting at B flat below middle C.
His feats now attract oohs and aahs from around the globe, but Sachin was an early inhabitant of the flat world that his notorious neighbours in Bandra (E) are still trying to shut the door on. In 1987, when Imran Khan’s men were passing through Bombay, a scratch Indian XI was assembled for a limited-overs match as part of Cricket Club of India’s golden jubilee. The visitors batted first but after lunch Javed Miandad and Abdul Qadir excused themselves, leaving just nine men on the field.
When the Pakistani team...