From where do I start? Do I start from the day when I was 4 to 5 years old? Wherein my dad taught me what cricket is and introduced you, for the very first time in my life pin pointing at the old black and white solitaire television with the good old wooden shutter, that he is Sachin Tendulkar. Like how your journey began with the first bat that you got as gift from your sister, my Sachin Tendulkar story, the passion for the game of cricket, respect and worship for you as an individual and my life’s journey along with cricket had began since then.
Thanks to late Tony Greig who gave blissful life and colors to most of the innings at the earlier stage of your career. If I shall be recollecting your good old innings, only those innings wherein Tony Greig had been the commentator will flash on at first as he made your batting even more special. (“Sachin Tendulkar” Read this in Tony’s tone and you will get to know how special your childhood was)
Individuals can never be greater than any sport, but then you came and shattered this belief in me, because for me cricket was always synonymous to Sachin and Sachin in turn was synonymous to cricket. It’s been just few days since you made me and many others weep like a kid with the best ever farewell speech in the history of any sport. It is now imperceptible to my senses that I won’t see you taking guard at number 4 to safe guard India. For those generation in India, that were born in the early 90’s after you made your international debut, you were just everything, you were a superhero, you were God, you meant cricket to us, you were the one man army who would rescue and single handedly take India to victory and what not?
Now that we won’t see you play again in the Indian Jersey, after you delivered the beautiful, sensational and the crafty farewell speech much similar to your batting, I feel, as if someone whom I loved unconditionally, someone who was a habit to me ever since I started to talk and walk, a kind of one sided friendship and affection has suddenly vanished forever from my life. It shouldn’t be an exaggeration if I tell you that I get the same feel that one would get after a sudden demise of someone close to our heart, because you have influenced my life to such an extent Sachin.
The Indian Tri-Color looks beautiful and patriotic especially on few occasions to me, the one at the Rashtrapathi Bhawan, the one at the coffin of the Indian martyrs and last but not the least the one that is carved on your helmet, that would face the sun, every time you raise your head and willow high to acknowledge and thank your dad.
From now on, every time when the wicket number 2 falls for India, everybody will be recollecting their own Tendulkar story with their eidetic memory with a void that will always remain empty and can never be filled when someone else walks in at number 4.
My heart wouldn’t pound harder or skip a beat any more when someone nears a ton. I wouldn’t be superstitious and my lucky blue T-Shirt shall remain untouched there in my cupboard. I won’t be losing my control anymore when someone gets out.
I shall never search for lame excuses which I had been doing ever since my childhood, may it be bunking the tuition classes just to see you bat, and may it be asking permission from my mom amidst my busy study schedule just to watch you hit a single straight drive so that I shall get back to study. I will never again ask permission from my manager or super seniors to see someone bat or just enter the ground, so that I can go to the first floor cafeteria all the way from eleventh floor just to witness you walking into the middle. I shall never risk my life again driving like Valentino Rossi or a Lance Armstrong to get back home faster, just to witness and experience the child like joy and enthusiasm that develops every time I see you come out to the middle with your bat. To whom would I now look to, with all the joy and happiness that I had only for you?
Every time you come out from the pavilion with the Indian flag carved on your helmet, with the bat tucked under your oxter and gloves that would be ready to be strapped and when you walk down crossing the boundary rope glancing at the sun, creating an inevitable ray of hope in us. Who would now give us the incomparable and the unparalleled frenzy at the fall of second wicket? There were those days when a single straight drive of yours had made my whole day happy. Sachin when will I get all these days back?
If human life had been a fairy tale I wouldn’t mind giving you few younger years of mine just to watch you bat forever for India. But then after all we are mere humans who didn’t find a way for it. Now who will heal or divert the anguished and dismal dumps of many with those sizzling straight drives and priceless paddle sweeps?
There is always that kid in me, who’s Superhero, will always remain to be you Sachin. Now whom will I personify and play those imaginary straight drives, flamboyant flicks soliloquizing Tony Greig‘s commentary in the terrace?
Sachin, your journey that started during the week of Children’s day during 1989 has officially ended after 24 years on the very same week, isn’t this enough to officially understand that our childhood, and a part of a beautiful and a blissful life is all over?
Sachin, you were the first to have taught me what patriotism and ambition is, you taught us perseverance, you taught us dedication, hard work and how to respect elders and how to treat younger ones than you, you taught us humility and the on the whole you taught us what it takes to be a special and a beautiful human being, but then you have also taught us the pain of missing someone close to our heart.
A single thank you won’t suffice for all that you have given us all these 24 years Sachin. Thank you Sachin for making us believe “Impossible is nothing”, for being the Superhero ever since my childhood, for being an Inspiration to us and for enriching my lives with the beautiful childhood, adolescence and beginning of manhood.
Sachin, you have a left behind a beautiful story and legacy in everyone’s heart that shall be conveyed to the future generation if not now at least in the future, every time when the second wicket falls.
Legends don’t retire because they live in our hearts, thank you sachin it has been a real pleasure and a privilege watching you bat for India all these days. We will be missing you for the entirety of our lives, for all those beautiful memories you have given us, for all those joys, jigs and innumerable patriotic moments that kept kindling the dormant patriotic Indian every time we see you taking guard.
(Another Proud Indian just like you)