Sachin Tendulkar – Above Cricket
Imagine stepping out of your home, heading towards your Office, a dossier in one hand, your Laptop bag in the other. Unwilling legs drag you towards your Car, making you look like a toddler made to walk to School, the last thing on their mind. By the time you unlock the Car, find a place for the dossier, which, by the way contains documents of the next high profile project you’re supposed to work on, and the Laptop Bag and settle down in the Driver’s seat, you’re already grappled by the thought of your arrogant boss asking you uncomfortable questions; the team you’re supposed to lead eagerly waiting to be led in the perfect direction; the client whose project your boss has entrusted you with waiting to be briefed about the latest developments and above all, the pressure of completing it in time. You feel the pressure because you haven’t particularly had a good previous day at Office. And after just one bad day at your Office, this can happen.
You work for yourself and your family. Every working day, you walk out on behalf of your family, trying to eke out a career for yourself, for your family. Sounds like a lot of pressure.
Imagine, what if every working day, you walk out on behalf of a billion people; people of different ages; people of different religions and castes; people of different thought processes; people of profound intelligence; people full of life; people coming from different economic backgrounds; people invalid; people disabled; people whom you do not know but who know you closely, even intimately. Sounds like impossible pressure, doesn’t it? Sachin Tendulkar used to do that. Every working day of His, He used to walk out on behalf of more than half a billion people. Every time Sachin Tendulkar walked in to Bat He would represent a quintessential Indian trying to find a moment, someone they could look up to and love whole-heartedly.
Apart from pulverizing bowling attacks into submission to setting stadiums on fire with scintillating batting; from carting a vicious Abdul Qadir for humongous sixes to counter-attacking a dreaded Waqar-Akram-Saqlain duo at Chennai; from demolishing a top bracket Australian attack at Sharjah to demolishing a radical Shoaib Akhtar, Sachin Tendulkar has brought millions of smiles on a billion faces; He has given them happiness and joy, even if for a few moments before reality strikes back. He’s given them hope.
Throughout His career, Sachin Tendulkar has been an epitome of class, technique, attitude, temperament and brilliance. His knocks have been a paradigm of top-of-the-line Batting. Volumes has already been written about Tendulkar’s astonishing records in almost every format of the game; His ability to consolidate, accumulate and alter His technique at various stages of His Career that metamorphosed a man who could attack the opposition relentlessly and blast them into smithereens, into a Man who could, if need be, drop His head down and defend as if His Nation’s life depended on it, all with similar grace and panache; or about His hundred hundreds, a record that probably might never be broken. I take this opportunity, the second anniversary of His retirement, to write about how He left an indelible mark and made unprecedented impact with His Batting.
Tendulkar’s Batting, apart from the flamboyant, textbook-ish and unputdownable technique, had something divine about it. How else would you explain people literally pausing their lives; or trains prolonging their halt on stations since Tendulkar was approaching His 21st ODI Century; or Offices, with an inapprehensible green signal from an otherwise stubborn Boss, taking time off from incalculable work to watch Him Bat as He went on using His Bat either like a sword to slash the red cherry past the forbidden boundary, or like a surgeon’s knife to carefully pierce the gaps; or children in the 1990s surreptitiously tip-toeing out of their Schools or Colleges to catch a glimpse of His Batting even as He went after the bowlers like a hungry Tiger would after its prey. To make and create this sort of an impact, you Batting has to have more than the ordinary textbook stuff! I vividly remember, a Tendulkar knock would suddenly light up my life. Like the Editing Team that redid Mughal-e-Azam, splitting frames, bifurcating them, inserting colors, and tying them up again, Tendulkar’s Batting would insert colors into every frame of my life. Earth would suddenly feel like a better place. And I’m sure, there were millions like me. There still are.
As early as 1990, Tendulkar had started creating unreal expectations, and was already fulfilling them. His Batting used to light up stadiums, spark phenomenal hysteria. It used to infuse life in games that would have otherwise been lifeless. It would suddenly make several thousand people in the stadium break into that famous incessant ‘Sachiiiiinnnnnn Sachiinnnnnnn’ chant. During the desert-storm knock at Sharjah, the authorities at Sharjah could surely have turned off the lights at the stadium, His batting would still have illuminated the stadium! At Centurion, on the 1st of March, 2003, Tendulkar’s 98 off 75 balls was a counterattack of sorts, on a ground that was transmogrified into a battlefield, what with a few radicals calling it ‘Jihad’, for no reason whatsoever. I have a plethora of such memories I can write about.
The ‘Sun’ called ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ set a couple of years back. But the sunlight stays on, and it always will. His legacy lives on. To me, He was bigger than the game, not because of anything else, but because it is He who taught me a lot of things about Life, the game didn’t. With this, I, Ameya Bhagwat, a Sachinist, sign off. Salutes to the great man.
Ameya Bhagwat, Sachinist.com