Centurion: The Father, the Son and the Spirit of Cricket, Pramesh Ratnakar, HarperCollins Publications India, Pp 154, Rs 225.00
THIS book is meant for teachers, helpful or unhelpful to students as it shows appreciation for those who go all out to help their students and those who do not do so but who can learn a lesson from this story. To quote the author’s father, who is talking on behalf of Sachin Tendulkar’s father – “a good teacher, as opposed to a mere instructor, doesn’t just address the errors on the pages of a student’s assignment, he also addresses the bigger errors of history and circumstance that actually erode a student’s ability to achieve his or her true potential.”
This is a fiction written in the first person as though Sachin Tendulkar is talking about his life. It begins with Sachin mentioning his father who loved books, was a teacher and wanted his son to take to the teaching profession. But, instead, he takes to cricket. He gets married to Anjali, a doctor by profession and has two children, Sara and Arjun who have him as their father while his own father is no longer alive but who had his own style of living – his own jeeney ka andaz.
He applies as a potential candidate to the post of college principal. He is a passionate and visionary thinker who has devised a career map for all of humanity by setting an example through his actions. The interview board comprises of the Vice Chancellor who reminds him of Greg Chappell. The Dean is a lady who looks like Anjali Tendulkar. The Governing Body Chairman is a senior bureaucrat of the Indian Administrative Service In the interview, he faces both humility and encouragement from the pillars of the institution, but ultimately it is the voice that will decide his future and that of the college and perhaps the students to come.
Through the interview and the question-answer sessions between the professor and the interview board, the book tries to explore the ideas of the interviewee as well as the dynamics of the father-son relationship, through the seemingly opposite characters of Ramesh and Sachin Tendulkar. Prof. Tendulkar is a scholar, a poet and above all, a good teacher. Sachin is a part-time bowler, a batsman and most of all, a centurion. Through the dialogue between the interviewee and the interviewer, the book focuses on the debates and dreams that shape the father-son relationship and the responsibility that rests on each one of us, Sachin or not, to become a God of right cognition.
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