I still remember reading an article written 8 years ago in India today's cover story "Zen and the Art of Sachin" in Dec, 1998 issue. In that article, the author wrote about the Sachin as a person and pointed out how Sachin is so 'un-middle-class-like' despite being born and raised in a middle class environment. One of the points he mentioned was about his age difference with his wife, Anjali.
Recently, I was reading somewhere about Abhishek-Aish courtship and Bachhan's family's approval to it. Apparently Amitabh, when someone asked him about Aish being >5 years elder to Abhishek, points to Sachin-Anjali's case and said "they are a very happy and successful couple.. so it really doesnt matter if the gal is older". Even in the movie 'Vallavan', Simbu gives the example of Gandhi-Kasturba and Sachin-Anjali and justifies his dating Nayan.
I have heard similar opinions from some of my friends too.. Sachin being an idol for most of India's youth, all what he does are followed quite keenly by both media and public alike. He is one of the true 'role models' for us, but it better stops with his on-field performance and public life. I am not saying that it is wrong for guys to marry someone older.. it is very common in the Western world but for India, I feel that the ageold-practised system is the best.
When parents fix the marriage, seldom they choose an elder gal, rite? Such things happen only in love marriages. IMHO, a girl can be upto a year elder to the guy but beyond that, it would add only further complications to the already complicated marriage life. I dont wanna dwelve upon what they are, but, just to point a few, ego clashes, decision making, and even normal family crisis take an ugly turn when the new dimension of the woman thinking her hubby being younger to her and possibly less experienced/mature arises. Well.. it all depends on the attitude of the individuals, but, if the thought of the -ve age diff. keeps lingering in the minds of the couple, it aint gonna be a smooth life.
The usually conventionally thinking Indian male would hesitate a lot before falling in love with an older girl but, to convince himself, that girl and also the parents, he can simply point his fingers at Sachin and ask "if he can, why not me?". This, to me, is the only negative influence Sachin has had/would have on we Indians.
PS: The poll 'Best of 2006' would continue to be the second post from the top, until early Jan, 2007. My other recent posts will be below that one (e.g. Godavari).