How cute is this? It’s Sachin Tendulkar’s 36th birthday today and Margarita Serrao (or Mary as she is called) one of his most devoted fans shares his birthday and turns 86. Apparently this great-granny’s only wish is to meet her ‘God’ before it’s too late!
At noon today, Tendulkar’s restaurant at Colaba, Mumbai is launching the book “If Cricket is Religion, Sachin is God.” The title echoes the sentiments of one of Sachin’s craziest fans, Margarita Serrao from Orlem (Malad), who shares her birthday with Sachin.
The feisty great-grandmother says, “I am so thrilled to share my birthday with Sachin. I will be celebrating with cake and biryani and I hope Sachin is celebrating in South Africa too.” (Sachin is away playing in the IPL for the Mumbai Indians.)
Mary Serrao’s Sachin-worship began several years ago, when she would watch cricket matches along with her son, who was housebound as he was epileptic. Recalls her daughter Cecilia, “Slowly, my mother became Sachin’s fan, obsessive about his batting, learning about his records, his centuries and even some controversies like the ball-tampering one.” (Sachin was at the center of a ball-tampering row in the Port Elizabeth Test (South Africa) in 2001.( Says Mary indignantly, “Sachin had not tampered with the ball. He can do no wrong. He is God.”
Mary has pictures of Sachin whom she also considers her grandson, plastered on her room walls. “Most of these photographs are gifts from people who know I adore Sachin,” she explains. “Undoubtedly I may get some more on my birthday.” Now, Mary’s only desire is to meet Sachin in person. She says, “I had even gone to the Tendulkar’s (the restaurant) seven years ago to meet him, but somehow missed him as he had already left. I know my time will come, and I will meet him.”
Cecilia says, “If Sachin gets out while playing, my mother switches off the television. Her grandchildren taunt her while Sachin is batting, ‘Now he will get out, now he will get out,’ she runs after them to smack them.” Mary has four grandchildren and one great grandchild. “Sachin is like my grandchild,” she says.
Though Mary’s memory fades sporadically, she’s one sharp cookie when it comes to Sachin. Mid Day asked her three Sachin questions and she was correct each time. “I hold the rosary and pray when he bats,” finishes Mary, who epitomises a nation that worships many Gods but believes that in cricket there is only one Sachin Tendulkar.
Quiz questions to Mary Serrao
Q: How many centuries has Sachin scored?
A: Total: 85. 42 in Tests and 43 in one-dayers.
Q: What was Sachin’s score in his first ever Test innings?
A: 15 runs against Pakistan
Q: When did Sachin score his most recent Test century?
A: In Hamilton (New Zealand)
All the answers were correct.