It was the summer of '99, by which time Sachin Tendulkar had turned a mature 26. A young man in the prime of his youth, but wise beyond his years, having already played international cricket for nearly a decade. The scene was the World Cup, India desperately looking for victories to keep their hopes of qualifying for the Super Sixes alive, when came the soul-shattering news from India that Sachin's dad, Professor Ramesh Tendulkar, had breathed his last.
Always extremely close to his father - a role model and an inspiration from the time he can remember - Sachin rushed home for the last rites, but was goaded by his mother and his family to return to England and answer the call of the team. Somewhat reluctantly, Sachin rejoined his mates, and paid the ultimate tribute to his father with a blazing 140 against Kenya, the century acknowledged with no more than a cursory wave of the bat towards the dressing room and a long, longing, heart-wrenching look heavenwards.
Since then, every milestone passed - and there have been many - has elicited that look towards the heavens. For, as far as Sachin is concerned, whatever he is today is because of his father, a role model not so much through words but with his deeds, with his actions, with his equanimity and his poise and his composure.