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Book Review: How Sachin Destroyed My Life by Vikram Sathaye

How Sachin Destroyed my Life – Now, that is a very brave title for a book released in India, where the name Sachin is synonymous with GOD. But Vikram surely got 50% of the attention and hype that is very much required for a non-fiction work with that title.

There were many books on cricketers and especially Sachin. People have spoken at length about his technique, temperament, character and his special hundreds. But Vikram offered a rare perspective. I cannot think of many cricket humorists and stand-up comedians other than Vikram Sathaye and Andy Zaltzman. In a way, the book voices the feelings of the entire male population of India. Sachin, in fact destroyed many lives. At some point or the other, Sachin played a part in our personal and professional lives. Vikram touches upon those aspects wonderfully. He just captures exactly what we, as the cricket mad population, went through watching Sachin grow from strength to strength. He, in fact, balances the feelings wonderfully. He laces each sentence with wit and humour. The moment you think he is hurting the Sachin fan in you, he makes you laugh out loud with those witty punch lines. The fact that he has not played the game at the highest level makes us perceive him as one of us – a common cricket fan. The fact that he lived the dream of every Indian cricket fan, without being a cricketer himself, gives us a sense of hope. The initial chapters focus very much on the struggles of Vikram as he tries to perceive his cricket dream. These chapters provide enough justification to the first half of the book’s title. You sympathize with Vikram all the way and you wish he was as successful at cricket as Sachin. When he does cross paths with his idol incidentally, you wish you were Vikram. His success story emphasizes the role of destiny in one’s life.

The most touching part of the book is the story of Mane Kaka, the team’s masseur. These are the people we never get to know. These are the people who take care of our heroes. It’s a great story and it ought to be told. Vikram should be lauded for introducing us to Mane kaka. In a way, I think both Vikram and Mane Kaka treaded the same path. If Mane Kaka’s was the most touching aspect of the book, the references to Virender Sehwag were heart warming. Sehwag is one of a kind player. He has a natural style and aura to his batting and character. Vikram dedicates a chapter to Sledging and it was great to learn how Sehwag reacted to Michael Clarke sledging Sachin. These are the aspects of the game a common cricket fan craves for. There are many such anecdotes in Vikram’s book. He touches up on some rarely discussed aspects as well in a serious tone. Commentators with a non-cricketing background were one such topic. He explains how difficult it is for a commentator or a presenter with no background of professional cricket, to survive in the cricket world.

The book is a wonderful read and it leaves you craving for more. Well done Vikram. You are now a Sachin for many, in your own right.