There have been many disappointing moments in my life. These moments include
- When I failed to make it in an exam
- Got rejected by a girl when I confessed my love
- When Sachin got out for a paltry score of 4 in world cup final (2003)
Yes, that moment is right up there with all personal tragedies of mine so far. It will remain so. Sachin had been in fantastic form in that World Cup. His 98 against Pakistan in Centurion was among the best innings in that series. Yet he failed to fire in the crucial finals when we had a big total to chase. But still, that does not define the way I see Sachin Tendulkar. He is not my idol or the greatest cricketer of all time. For me, Sachin is something more. He is a character straight out of a novel I would want to read. Today is his birthday and this is my humble tribute to the giant.
I still remember the day when I got an autograph of Sachin. It was way back in 2004 in Bangalore. Micheal Clarke had scored a century on his debut. India was on the verge of losing on the fourth day. But Pathan and Dravid held on. My friend and I went to Chinnaswamy stadium on the last day. Pathan hit some sixes, Dravid tried but we could not draw the match. India lost. I went scouting for signatures and then suddenly, everyone started running towards a grilled enclosure. Tendulkar was coming. I ran and snuggled. I had borrowed a piece of paper from somebody. I held it out. And Tendulkar gave preference to me. Yes, he signed my piece of paper first! Unfortunately, I have lost the paper, but the memory remains.
Sachin was a kid who started his international career at 16 years. Someone who played for almost 25 years of cricket has been an integral part of an entire generation. He had not only entertained his crowds but also united the entire country whenever he walked up to the crease. A total of 100 hundreds and many more 50s in his career reflect on the longevity and adaptability of the man.
People throw stones at you and you convert them into milestones: Sachin Tendulkar (in 2008 after breaking Lara’s record of most test runs) pic.twitter.com/L4tx9BlcSz
— Sachislife™ 🇮🇳 © (@Sachislife) March 3, 2018
Sure, someone like Kohli may break his records someday, but nobody will capture the hearts of an entire nation like Tendulkar. Nobody can complete his entire career with so many achievements, yet wear it so lightly on his shoulders. Nobody can be a nice, well behaved gentleman like Tendulkar who won the hearts of every bowler whom he smashed all over the field.
No amount of poetry or literature can capture the impact Sachin had on an entire nation. There have been so many commentators, wannabe bards and devotees of Sachin who have tried to capture his talent or achievements in flowery language. But none shall be able to capture the intangible, the rhythm of heartbeats when he walked up to the crease, volcanoes joy when he sent a bowler to the ropes, the ecstacy when he raised his bat after a century, inconsolable sorrow when Sachin got out cheaply (especially in crucial matches). None of it can be captured in words.