Mumbai: It was a "late cut" (a tight slap) from his beloved "sir" Ramakant Achrekar after missing a match, that made Sachin Tendulkar realise the importance of hard work.
On Saturday, Tendulkar along with another 100 students of Sharadashram Vidyamandir celebrated their beloved guru's 79th birthday at the Bandra Kurla Complex.
Obviously, the centre of attraction at the reunion was none other than Tendulkar as Achrekar's students fondly recollected the old days.
As he took a trip down the memory lane, it become an emotional journey not only for Tendulkar but also for former India players, Ajit Agarkar, Praveen Amre, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Paras Mhambrey, Chandrakant Pandit and Sameer Dighe among others.
"After finishing school, I used to hurry to my aunt's place for lunch and by that time, sir used to organise some matches for me. He used to tell the opposition teams, that I would be batting at No 4.
"On one such day, instead of playing in the match, I along with a friend, went to the Wankhede stadium to watch the Shardashram English-medium boys take on the Shardashram Marathi-medium boys in the Harris Shield final and cheer our team," Tendulkar said.
"There, we spotted sir and went to greet him. He knew that I had missed the match, but still asked me how did I perform in it. I told him that, I thought that I would skip the match in order to cheer for our team. I got a late-cut (tight slap) on my face. The tiffin box in my hand flew and all its content_cns spread across," he said.
"At that time, sir told me 'You don't have to be here to cheer for others. Play in such a way that others cheer for you'. Since that day, I began practicing very hard and put in a lot of hours. If not for that day, I might have been cheering others from the stands," Tendulkar said.