Sunday, 17 November 2013
It’s over. The curtains have fallen. The era has ended. Tributes are pouring in, tears are still being shed. Me? I’m still trying to fathom what’s transpired in the last 24 hours.
For over two decades, chants of “Sachin Sachin” never left the stadium when Sachin Tendulkar batted. They were like a shadow, always behind him. Just like the billions of devotees around the world, who’ve worshipped their God in their own special way. This is not about records. They’re there in the books. This is about an extraordinary man, who has evoked emotions ranging from outright joy to complete breakdown in the life of an ordinary man.
It was my father who introduced me to this crazy sport when I had barely learned how to ride a cycle. I was far from understanding Cricket, but he would wake me in the middle of the night just to show me how it is played. He would take leaves from office when India batted first, and on days they bowled, he would come home just in time to watch his favourite cricketer bat. I didn’t know what to make of this. Why would anyone skip work or come home early just to watch some cricketer bat? What is so special about this diminutive batsman who literally compelled people to leave everything aside and stay glued to their television sets? The child in me never got answers to these questions.
I’ll admit – for a long, long time I found it difficult to comprehend cricket. The rules, the fielding positions, names of cricketers from certain teams; there was very little my mind could grasp. But then, even a child could remember someone who was a household name in the 90’s. My aim was to follow Tendulkar and get those answers. I don’t know how and when he became a part of me. When he scored a hundred, I would run of the house and burst those leftover crackers from Diwali. When he failed, I’d sit in a corner and weep. Story of my life.
Today, there are no crackers to burst, no corner to cry. He’s gone, but has left a plethora of memories, which will hopefully suffice for the rest of our lives. Cherish him, celebrate his success – we’ve all been lucky to witness the making of a genius!