For the past two months since Sir Sachin Tendulkar announced His retirement from all forms of Cricket, I wanted to write something which could sum up my feelings about this fateful decision of His. So much has already been shown/written/read that whatever I say/write actually doesn't matter the least. And I am no writer, so it is all the more difficult to pen down correct words to describe His greatness, not only on the field but off it, and also what He has meant to me for over the past 17 years that I have followed Cricket. But still, I am trying a make an effort in this direction as He had always believed in giving one's 100% in whatever one does, and it doesn't matter if he/she fails - the more important thing is that at the end of the day one should not have this regret that his/her effort was not up to the mark.
So let me clear this upfront - I didn't cry while He was giving His farewell speech just a few hours ago at the Wankhede Stadium. It was not my place, for who am I to cry at His departure? What have I done for Him that I should take credit of anything He said or did today? We all saw Anjali's eyes well up, and even Sara was about to cry, it was inevitable and rightly so. His family has sacrificed so much, and the thought that He is finally done and dusted with Cricket will obviously be overwhelming.
Then there is Vinod Kambli - an old 'friend' and a 'Cricket expert' who never missed a chance to spew venom against Him in the past few years, just to get some footage on his stupid TV news show. He was 'seen' crying on that show today; I don't know why? Either they were just crocodile's tears or just the thought that now as Sachin is retiring, he will not be getting similar air time after this whole retirement carnival gets a rest.
Ram had Lakshman to accompany him to the forest during their exile. His younger brother, his aide and shadow. Well, Sachin had Ajit, His older brother, His friend, philosopher and guide. Ajit never married, so that he can give his full attention to his younger brother's career. It was because He had Ajit is why we have Him today. Kambli also had talent, but he didn't have someone like Ajit. So he faded into oblivion, and today we all just know him to be a clown on a terrible TV news show. That is the power of family, and family values. So, if Ajit wants to cry today, he deserves to do that.
The whole point I am trying to make here is, that success has many fathers and failure is an orphan. Today, Sachin is synonymous to success, so everyone wants a piece of Him. I mean, Siddhu cannot just stop reminding us about how, back in 1994 in New Zealand, he had a stiff neck and thus Sachin got promoted to the opener's position and there we found the best ODI batsman the world has ever seen. What the hell man! What the hell is wrong with you? Not many people know that you were in a night club the night before the match and got your neck bruised in a scuffle. And it was Sachin who came to the team's rescue and took additional responsibility as an opener. Thereafter, His talent and hard work made Him the best in business, not your stupid break!
We Indians are very emotional people. We get moved very easily. I am not saying it is a bad thing, as I too am very emotional. I only have a problem with emotions which are not genuine. God knows I cried when we lost the 1996 World Cup Semi Final to Sri Lanka, or when we lost the 1999 Chennai Test match against Pakistan, or the 2003 World Cup Final defeat against Australia, or 2009 Hyderabad defeat against Australia when Sir Jadeja was not able to make 18 runs off 3 overs after He made 175 out of the required 351! I can recall countless instances of sorrow as well as happiness. Who can forget the desert-storm innings of 143 at Sharjah and again the swashbuckling 134 two days after? Or 241* without a single cover drive in the whole innings lasting some 10 hours. Or 200* when He broke the most coveted ODI barrier. But then I cannot just forget the headline 'ENDULKAR?' from The Times of India in 2004. Or Sanjay Manjrekar's jab after jab in 2007. Or Kapil Dev's rants since the 2011 World Cup win.
People, I am no expert, but I am very clear over one thing. If I support something/someone, I go with that thing/person till the end. It is not like an 'add salt to taste' approach with me which is with most of the Indians. Please try to understand what I am trying to explain here. Not taking away anything from the fans, I just want to highlight that it was us who have been the most cruel to Him over the past many years. We were cruel to Him when He was injured, but He said nothing. We constantly questioned His integrity on our 'prestigious' primetime TV shows, but He responded with His bat. We, practically, were sucking His blood during the period from 99th to 100th century, but He didn't show that on His face. The only time something was visible was a sigh of relief after that 100th century. It was neither joy, nor happiness, but relief - because we couldn't just let go!
I don't know what will be the readers' reaction to this post, but that is how I feel. I bid Him farewell, and hope that He finds some way to remain attached to Cricket, because even I know, He just cannot live without it.
#ThankYouSachin #BharatRatna #TakeABowMaster #GodOfCricket