Before you begin to wonder what the heck this post is going to be let me tell you the reason behind the title. Was wondering how to make this an attention seeking interest grabbing headline and ended up with this one :)
Millions of words have already been written about HIS retirement and there are billions more to come. Let me add a few to the never ending saga called Sachin. Like two sides to a coin, there are as many people who are fuming at the extravaganza that is on going, wondering the whole way through why so many others weren't considered even half this adulation whereas the rest of the majority continues to push the bar of hero worship manifold. Why is Sachin so special would be a question for MBA's and psychologists to analyse for years to come. Dravid was equally gifted if not more and have been the mainstay of any overseas tour as much as Sachin. Ganguly is often credited with infusing "soranai" and "soodu" to the team. Even for Kapil the great, who showed the world that this nation is capable of performing and winning at a world stage had a muted celebration compared to this little man. So why so much frenzy and accolades and praise for this man, who after all played more games than anyone else and obviously scored more than everyone else. Some of his records, if not all, are etched on stone. He is a statistician's nightmare for the sheer volume of numbers that speak for his deeds. But still, does all this warranty this madness??
I read it on a friend's FB wall which summed it all up. Somewhere between his debut and retirement, we all grew up. By announcing his retirement he has served a notice to all those kids that, time has passed and they have indeed aged. The kids who bunked their school feigning illness just to watch him play are all settled in their office cubicles and the fervour with which they followed him just got shifted into a different medium of internet. To many he is the one constant reminder of their childhood dream and a superhuman who rarely failed. When he scored a century, it never mattered whether India won or lost, it was always the individual who towered over the rest. The collective loss of an entire team got overshadowed by that single great little man. He was written off many a time only to outlive the comment and commenter. He was the one constant on the forever changing scenario. India got economic liberalisation, lot many presidents and prime ministers, way too many changes in world scenario itself, yet there was always Sachin to fall back on and his century to cheer the hearts.
He came in at a time when media was blossoming. Tv channels needed an icon to worship and there he was. Newspapers needed a messiah to sell and there he was. Citizens needed someone to look up to for inspiration and there he was. With each arm of media that grew from tv to twitter, people began to invent ways to worship him and with the advent of the net, everything about him became viral. Hyperboles were coined to glorify him and commentary was no longer the dull job it used to be. People fell head over heels in worshipping him and first name that comes to mind is Tony Greig who made Sachin's otherwise proper cricketing shots, into immortal epics. He enjoyed watching him play and his passion caught on people's imagination.
Whenever I play table tennis, if any of my friends watch me, I feel so nervous and awkward that I would invariably play loose shots and would lose badly. This for a game which played inside a ten by ten room on a single table with hardly space for a couple of people to stand. Imagine a stadium full of people, with a million voices shouting your name right from the moment you step on the field. One can shut himself off by ignoring tv or radio or newspapers, but when he is out in the open in midst of thousands of people shouting their throats off, chanting his name, worshipping the very earth where he stood and willing to go to any length to glorify him, its an impossible task to even walk straight, forget about facing 100 mile/hr bowling speedsters and wily spinners. And above all, keeping a straight face for 24 years and playing on as if nothing had really transpired unmindful of those praise and criticism alike and remaining humble at the same time is sheer out of the world. To me the greatest virtue of Sachin would be his humility. "Thann nilai uyarum boathu panivu kondaal ulagam unnidam mayangum" Kannadasan summa sollitu pogala. Probably meant for Sachin.
I am really glad, he didn't hung up his boots in one shot across all formats and since the process was step by step, with one format at a time, the pain is not as much felt as it would've been had he announced it all together. Its not for nothing grown men cried when he was giving his farewell speech. Heart goes out for that kid in him, who ventured on to that 22 yards of what he thought as a fun place, which lured his attention for 2 dozen years. Now suddenly, he wakes up to find himself as a 40 year old, with a wife and 2 kids (and Crores of rupees ofcourse) and not knowing how to spend his time bereft his passion. I sincerely wish to see him again on the sports section of newspapers and on all sports channels in some capacity or other, pursuing his dream and also that of a billion other kids, who have invested theirs on him.
Go Sachin..go. As long there is the last kid playing with a broken stump on a bygone alley, as long as their is the last cricket crazy fan on this madcap nation, you will always be remembered and cheered.