Mumbai: A familiar sight greeted Sachin Tendulkar as he arrived in a special bus to the Wankhede Stadium for his 200th and farewell test match here Thursday - a group of excited Mumbai dabbawalas.
A dozen of the famous and humble dabbawalas waited patiently for two hours outside the stadium gates to welcome and cheer the cricket maestro.
"Finally when the bus came, we stepped in front of it and gave a salute to Sachin, our own Mumbaikar and a national idol," Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Trust (NMTBST) spokesperson Subhash Talekar told IANS.
Reciprocating, Sachin who was sitting in one of the front rows of the bus, got up from his seat and returned the gesture -- his own salute to the tribe of Mumbai's 5,000-plus Dabbawalas who feed over 200,000 people daily.
"For us this is indeed a great honour. We could not afford to buy the expensive tickets for the test match and the MCA and other cricketing bodies did not give us a single ticket to cheer Sachin on the ground. So we did it outside the ground...," Talekar said.
The security only permitted the dabbawalas to greet Sachin from a distance and did not permit drums or music which they had originally planned, Talekar said.