Not Just Cricket

The Tendulkar Who Writes Poetry

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Nitin Tendulkar, the less-known brother of Sachin Tendulkar, made a couple of rare public appearances in Mumbai recently. These were for the launch of his book of poems, Dev, and an audio CD comprising musical versions of compositions written by their father, Ramesh Tendulkar.  The album is called Bhav Mukhe. Dev is Nitin’s third book of poems. The first two were Pavsaala (monsoon) and  Zhaad (tree). The oldest Tendulkar sibling works for Air India and lives in Mumbai. While Sachin and Ajit Tendulkar were absorbed in cricket-related activities, Nitin’s passion was poetry. The family had a literary bent. Poetry aside, Ramesh Tendulkar taught Marathi at Mumbai’s Kirti College.

“I liked cricket too, but sacrificed it for Sachin,” Nitin says in jest at a pre-launch gathering in Mumbai. When Sachin is asked if he tried poetry, he says, “He left cricket for me, I had to leave something for him.” Nitin, the eldest of the Tendulkar siblings, says that rain and nature inspired him. The atmosphere at Sahitya Sahawas, the housing colony where the boys grew up, also helped. The colony was built for creative folk—writers, poets, playwrights and actors. Each building is named after a poem. The Tendulkars lived in Ushakkal.

If Ajit noticed the cricketing spark in Sachin, Ramesh Tendulkar spotted the poet in Nitin and encouraged him. Nitin says that the muse rarely ever fails to oblige. “One of my lines came to me when I was sitting with friends at a bus stop near Haji Ali. Our exams had gotten over and we were having fun.” 
He admires the poets Govind ‘Vinda’ Karandikar, Vasant Bapat and Mangesh Padgaonkar. “I read their work in my childhood and wanted to write like them. My father understood my feelings.”

Asked if any of Sachin’s strokes or innings had inspired a poem, Nitin says, “No.” After a pause he adds, “But his century against Kenya [in the 1999 World Cup] immediately after returning to the team after our father’s death was his greatest.”