I first saw him outside a sports bookshop where I worked. It could have been 1987. He and his pal Vinod Kambli used to pass the shop, which was not far away from their school. At times, Kambli entered the shop to get a feel of the books, but Tendulkar never came in. He used to stand near the door and see the books through the glass cupboard.
It was an interview that I wanted after he returned from the 1990 New Zealand tour. He was playing a Purshottam Shield match for Shivaji Park Youngsters against Sunder Cricket Club, the team I managed at Cross Maidan. It was a one-and-a-half day game. At the end of the first day, I approached him when he was packing up to go home. He gave me directions - which bus to get into and where to get off. A week later, I landed up at his place at Bandra East. His father, Ramesh, taught in the same college I studied in. But I'm not sure he recognised me. He opened the door, welcomed me and called out, "Sachin, someone has come to see you."
It has to be the one in which he told me that he was ready for the India captaincy. He had just arrived from the Netherlands, where the team had played a couple of one-day games after India's 1996 tour of England.
The most challenging assignment was to get a reaction to his appointment as captain in 1996. I reached his Bandra residence and discovered I had a lot of company - reporters, photographers and a few from the electronic media. Tendulkar was not home. He had been dining at his in-laws' place in south Mumbai. That's what the buzz was all about. He arrived at midnight when all but one newspaper had gone to bed. To everyone's surprise, he didn't react to the news of him replacing Mohammad Azharuddin as captain. He said he would speak at the airport the following morning.
Undoubtedly, the 155 not out that helped India win the Chennai Test of 1998 against Australia. Remember, he was out cheaply in the first innings - caught by Mark Taylor at slip off Shane Warne for 4. The Test was in the balance for the first three days. That was before Tendulkar played that knock on a turning pitch.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is a writer based in the USA