I grew up thinking my dad named me after Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest cricket player in the history of the sport. He’s also the biggest celebrity in India, an idol.

And my dad is a crazy cricket fan, staying up all night to watch live matches going on around the world on his satellite dish. He loves Sachin Tendulkar. So the connection to my name seemed clear to me, at least when I was 10 years old: my dad named me after the greatest athlete in India.

Last month India won the Cricket World Series after 28 years. Despite being the greatest player of all time, it was Sachin’s first title. I’m sure it was one of the happiest moments in my dad’s life. Cricket is a religion.

His blog has a video clip of the victory announcement. It’s a clip that is meaningless to everyone else, but a cherished memory for him, now permanent on his website.

When I was born, Sachin Tendulkar was 7 years old. So unless my dad could predict the future of cricket (which I wouldn’t completely discount), I was not named after the cricket star.

ESPN wrote a great piece about cricket and Sachin’s affect on India. It’s the inspiration of this post and I highly recommend it. The name “Sachin” has become a huge part of Indian culture:

Deepchand chose this name carefully. A name is very important in Hindu culture. The right one, it is believed, can lead a child to immortality. A name is a compass. It points a person in a specific direction.

Of his three children, Deepchand got to name two of them. The girl he called Sonia, after Sonia Gandhi, a politician, “an honest and powerful woman.” He wants his girl to be like her. He wants his son to be like Sachin: strong, sincere, poised. Sachin represents so many things for Indians who aspire to a better future while not losing their past in the exchange. The name literally means “pure.”

“He never behaves badly,” says Rahul Bhattacharya, once a popular young writer on cricket, now a novelist, “which Indians find very appealing. He’s not had scandals with women or drugs. He’s the idol for our children.”

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I don’t know when I actually figured out I wasn’t named after Sachin Tendulkar, but it doesn’t matter. I’m happy to carry a name that is so well regarded in India and throughout the cricket playing world.

If I ever run across an Indian person and tell them my name, the response is always, “like Tendulkar?!” (More of an exclamation of joy than a question).

And I always know when I’m traveling in a country with a cricket team. They know exactly how to pronounce “Sachin”.

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