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All else…is irrelevant

October 30, 2013

There was this commercial that used to appear a few years ago. In a world of identical looking promos, this one struck a chord, I’ll explain after laying out the hindi storyboard with its attempted translation.

Scene opens with a crowd quietly standing in front of a huge television screen…

All kinds of people in the crowd, a few with the dabs of paint on their faces depicting the Indian tricolor. The camera pans across as they’re anxiously looking at the screen. A little girl, oblivious to the tension in the air, chomps away on a bar of chocolate. There’s a background score playing…slow, quiet, male voice…”humko ye kisne chua hai…” (Who is this who has touched us…)

A living room: overflowing with people staring at the television.

Background…”jadoo sa ye kya hua hai…” (What magic is this…)

A bus stop: a kid in a bottlegreen school uniform…bites into a bar of chocolate…then shadow-practices a straight drive…shakes his head in disgust…then does it again…better this time…then nods in self-approval.

Background…”khel ka rang…chaane laga hai…” (The game is everywhere…)

A couple in their living room: the guy is lost in concentration watching the of chocolate in one hand…as his girlfriend slips the contents out of the wrapper and takes a bite.

Background…”dil ki dhadkan…badhaane laga hai…” (Setting the heart racing…)

A barber salon: tv in the corner showing the game…this guy in the chair with u guessed it…chocolate bar in hand watching intently. the barber, in true desi style..twists this dude’s head to one side…the guy keeps turning his head towards the television who the hell gets a haircut when ST is batting?!

Background…”andaaz badle hue hain…” (Changing everything…)

Local convenience store: typical middle-aged owner listening to radio. Kid asks for a chocolate when apparently a boundary is struck. The owner signals four…looks like he’s saying “Its free”…kid grins and leaves

Background…”chaaron taraf mastiyaan hain…” (Everywhere we see, its the joy of the game…)

More scenes in living rooms…people watching nervously…then exploding into celebration…hugs and high-fives all around.

Background…chorus..increasing in crescendo..”humko ye kisne chua haiiiiii” (Who is this who has touched us…)

Final scene…as everyone in the room celebrates…this guy is kneeling at the tv screen…as if to feed the batsman his chocolate bar pun intended!

Finally…the well recognized glasses of milk pouring to give Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate. Background…”Cadbury’s Dairy Milk…mazaa aa gaya”

Damn right mazaa aa gaya (That was fun)! Now, the reason it struck a chord…this commercial was aired during the 2003 world cup…and I can almost smell the coffee we used to brew at 4am (central time) in the morning to watch india’s games. I was to leave on vacation to India the next day and India was chasing an improbable 275 against Pakistan to stay alive in the tournament.

After a quiet first over from Akram, Shoaib to bowl the second to Sachin…

Ball 1: short…wide…quick! ST stretches and goes at it with everything…ball takes the top edge…(they say its medically impossible…but am pretty sure my heart stopped at that instant)…but the ball soars over thirdman into the crowd…first ball and SIX!

Ball 2: straight…FAST!…defended

Ball 3: good length…outside off. ST punches of the backfoot..through the covers…four.

Ball 4: just outside off…left alone to the wicketkeeper

Ball 5: fast, overpitched and on the pads…dont bowl there!:)…clipped sublimely for four in front of square. (by this time the 7 of us in the room are bowing in reverence, arms outstretched, palms facing down…am not kidding!)

Ball 6: good length..straight. ST stands tall and plays defensively. Except that the ball races to the long on fence. Noone’s supposed to be able to do that!


18 runs off the over. Sir Donald Bradman who?! 🙂 end of the over, the ad I just described in graphic detail appears…now you know

Congratulations Sachin Tendulkar, for taking over the mantle of highest run-scorer in test match cricket. The scale of achievement is not diminished just because it was only expected from a player who took the game to new heights. Who, for the first decade and a half of his career, shouldered the burden of carrying India’s hopes, alone and unflinching. Who never appeared bitter about the doubters who could never fathom what it was to walk out to bat with a nation holding its breath, to be expected to turn the most impossible situations around, to see opposing teams celebrate like the match was won, when his was the only wicket to have fallen. For maintaining dignity and showing class, whether it was after a century, or a zero. For being a true champion.

Can’t help but recall the last line of a print ad I’d seen in an Adidas store some 9 years ago…It went something like this (try as I might, can’t seem to find the complete text of that ad, this is a spurious reproduction)

“When Sachin bats…captains and bowlers think and rethink their plans…
When Sachin bats…school kids forget about their homework…
When Sachin bats…housewives forget about their monthly household budgets…
When Sachin bats…all of India forgets its worries…

When Sachin bats…all else…is irrelevant”

Amen to that!

22 Comments leave one →
  1. labrap permalink
    October 19, 2008 7:06 pm

    nice one 🙂

  2. permalink
    October 21, 2008 4:34 pm

    I remember as a young woman living in Cape Town , South Africa my favourite summer pastime was watching test match action at a sunsoaked Newlands test grounds under the Oaks! One of the greatest moments was to see the ‘Little Master” walk out on the Newlands green turf and appreciatively greeted by a partisan crowd , heartily acknowledging the presence of a great!

    Now living in NZ , and reading your apt prose, I am truly blessed to be privy in seeing the ‘piccolo maestro” of the graceful game in action.

    In the early 90`s the cricketing world certainly became abuzz when the name Sachin Tendulkar lit up the scoreboards across the cricketing globe. Almost 20 years on ……Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar still does…and rightly so!

    A truly fitting tribute to one of the true heroes of modern day sports. It is inevitable that Tendulkar`s majestic feats will be surpassed by either Ponting or Dravid , but the grace and brilliance of Sachin Tendulkar will always remain incomparable.

  3. October 22, 2008 11:00 am

    thanks labrap, thanks for that, truly captures what ST means to cricket

  4. October 24, 2008 10:56 pm

    Very neat and clean written although its more than what needed 🙂

  5. Mukund permalink
    November 25, 2008 2:39 pm

    Excellent piece, very well written. Let me say it gain though, when Sachin bats…all else…is irrelevant! Amen to that!

  6. November 25, 2008 4:47 pm

    thanks mukund!

  7. suresh permalink
    December 16, 2008 7:54 pm

    The ad u mentioned truly reflects what sachin means to any Indian. For some reason I do not recollect having seen that ad…ahh how could I miss that ?
    By the way I think you got your ball by ball description wrong.
    He scored 6,4,4 of the last 3 balls …
    Can check it out here;view=commentary
    I’m not intent on correcting u , just that anything related to Sachin should be perfect nah…
    By the way, that 6 wasn’t a top edge 🙂 It’s the upper cut which he invented 2 years prior to that in South Africa at blomfontein , playing the 1st test of the series against SA where he scores a delightful 155 …
    Nice to get in touch with one more sachin fan

  8. December 17, 2008 10:11 am

    suresh, the way its seared in my memory, shoaib’s first ball went for 6. it stuck because the same happened to waqar when he came on after shoaib. sachin fans always welcome here 🙂

  9. suresh permalink
    December 17, 2008 11:50 pm

    Hey Anoop,
    You can check the cricinfo link which has the commentary showing that ball 1.4 was the one that went for 6…

  10. Avishkar permalink
    April 14, 2010 4:08 pm

    You are among very few who knows about this advert….This was sung by Suresh Wadkar….
    I wanna see the video….do you have a link for this….????????????? please mail me….thanks a tonne….!

    • April 14, 2010 4:36 pm

      hi avishkar, i got the video from a marketing prof at b-school. might put it on youtube one of these days. cheers!

      • Vipul permalink
        May 29, 2010 1:10 am

        Hiii Dude,

        Pls send me the link of the cadbury’s ad at
        thanks a ton in advance


      • Ayyappan Pillai permalink
        December 19, 2012 12:12 am

        Did you put it up on Youtube? I cannot find the AD.

      • Ayyappan Pillai permalink
        December 19, 2012 1:36 am

        Or can you email a link? ( I tried and tried but just cannot find the ad. cadbury ads were always touching but one featuring Sachin? I just cannot miss it!!

        Thanks a million..!! Looking forward to it!! 🙂

      • December 19, 2012 1:50 am

        Hi, the ad does not feature Sachin. It played during the commercial break during his innings against Pakistan in the 2003 world cup.

  11. VIneet permalink
    April 20, 2010 2:21 pm

    When Sachin Tendulkar travelled to Pakistan to face one of the finest bowling attacks ever assembled in cricket, Michael Schumacher was yet to race a F1 car, Lance Armstrong had never been to the Tour de France, Diego Maradona was still the captain of a world champion Argentina team, Pete Sampras had never won a Grand Slam. When Tendulkar embarked on a glorious career taming Imran and company, Roger Federer was a name unheard of; Lionel Messi was in his nappies, Usain Bolt was an unknown kid in the Jamaican backwaters. The Berlin Wall was still intact, USSR was one big, big country, Dr Manmohan Singh was yet to “open” the Nehruvian economy. It seems while Time was having his toll on every individual on the face of this planet, he excused one man. Time stands frozen in front of Sachin Tendulkar. We have had champions, we have had legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will.

  12. Vipul permalink
    May 29, 2010 1:09 am

    HI, pls send me the ad, i have had a hard time searching for that ad.. the lyrics were wonderful !

  13. Ashwin permalink
    February 18, 2011 7:31 pm

    HI, pls send me the ad, i have had a hard time searching for that ad.. the lyrics were wonderful ! Its the best ad ever !!!! thank u.,

  14. vishal permalink
    January 13, 2013 7:27 pm


    pls send me this ad at “”

  15. Prashant Dutta permalink
    February 27, 2013 2:28 pm

    Hi .
    please please please please send me this ad at

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