There’s a new phenomenon on the rise.
It’s called Sachin Kolaveri. Basically, everyone hates Sachin Tendulkar. People want him to retire, people want him to step down from MI captaincy (oh, ok, he did that), people think he is an undeserving candidate for the Rajya Sabha or the Bharat Ratna…
Woah, woah, woah, is this the same Sachin Tendulkar we’re talking about? That li’l curly-haired bloke who once tore apart Mike Kasprovicz at Sharjah? The same abdomen-adjusting dude who we swore our lives to? Okay, the curly hair isn’t there any more. But still. Wasn’t it just last year, around this time, that Sachin was more Godlike than he usually was? He delivered at the World Cup, everyone said they won it for him, the year before that he had scored 200, the first double ton in an ODI match. Tendulkar was peerless. What happened then?
Today, there is widespread anger over Sachin. I gauge this at two levels – Times of India comments and Twitter, which (unfairly, I know) provides me two ends of the social spectrum. The language and method of expression might be different (GET LOST SACHIN U R WASTE NOW vs I think the time has come for the Little Master to bow out while he still has some shred of respectability left) but there is no doubting that the overall demeanour is the same.
There was a time when making a joke against Tendulkar was a sign for people to start throwing stones at your house. And now? Heck, I’ve made cartoons against Tendulkar and the comments, contrary to my expectation of outrage, are supportive! Make no bones about it – Sachin’s stock has taken a huge, HUGE beating in the last year and some.
1. He kept us waiting: The 100th century was a fine little tease at first (just like how Ganguly kept himself from batting in the match against KKR at Eden) which we knew would come eventually. After all, he scored tons at an astronomical rate in the previous year, right? And then, it stopped being funny any more. People were getting pissed off, and just wanted it to come at any rate. One of my favourite bloggers, Local Tea Party, wrote of Indian parents’ attitude to weddings (in his inimitable style)
Best comedy is, if you keep delaying, parents will keep relaxing their conditions. First they will put condition ki only arranged marriage you should do. Then after some years they will agree ki they will allow love marriage but only within the same community. And then after few more years, total relaxation, ‘Boss, you bring some person, we will get you married. Just bring someone, ok?
And that is exactly what happened with Sachin’s 100. First we wanted him to score in the SF against Pakistan, then the final of the World Cup, then in the 2000th test at Lord’s. Then we said, “Boss, ok, you score in some ground in England…”, after that we said, “Sheri, just get it against the ruddy West Indies…”, and eventually out of frustration said, “OK boss, that douche Asia Cup is there, go score hundred there against Bangladesh”. And that’s what he did.
Passable humour gave way to outrage every time he failed to score, and truly that was instrumental in dimming his aura.
And now, he seems to be keeping us waiting for his retirement.
2. That monstrosity of a house he moved into: Which looks like it was basically made of leftover pieces of Mukesh Ambani’s piece of gargantuan filth. As Indians, we don’t like our heroes showing displays of ostentation. We like them nice and humble and middle-class. Which is why we respect Ratan Tata and his apparent austerity, while little has been made of the fact that he is actually going to move into a 300-crore seaside mansion in Colaba. We loved Sachin not just because of his batting, but because of his down-to-earth nature and apparent middle-class virtues despite his wealth. But last year changed it all – selling the Ferrari which the Indian Government gave him a tax waiver on, and then building this ugly structure (and making a hue and cry about it, to boot).
3. Deep down, we all love(d) Dravid: Now Rahul Dravid was the cricketer we all loved. It was correct to love Rahul Dravid. He did everything right, said the right things, didn’t go around building ugly mansions in Kormangala, and importantly, while our man Sachin constantly frustrated us in England by missing his 100th 100 time after time, Rahul delivered. He was the epitome of consistency. And then he retired at the right time, with dignity, knew that his time was up, and walked out with his head held high.
Suddenly, Dravid seemed to be everything that Tendulkar wasn’t – importantly, shying away from the limelight. The nation seemed to be kicking itself about it’s decision to love Tendulkar and sideline Dravid, and seemed desperate to make up for it.
Also, a lot of people seemed to support Dravid’s decision to declare when Sachin was on 194.
4. Undeserved awards: Does Tendulkar really warrant a Bharat Ratna? Did he REALLY need to be made an MP? Seriously, a member of parliament?! You’ve got to be kidding me. Dravid was the one who made the Bradman Oration speech. Gavaskar and Kumble are more respectable from a public administration point of view. What had Tendulkar done? Mark his profession as ‘actor’ rather than ‘cricketer’ to save on tax?
5. That hairdo: I’m sorry, but about 40% of the rage against Tendulkar right now happens because of this.
No, really. What WAS that?
And the news just seems to keep trickling in. Just today I heard Tendulkar wants to ensure his finances etc are not brought under the RTI act when he is made an MP. The cries of ‘selfish Sachin’ are doing the rounds. But don’t take my word for it. Just see the comments on any ToI article.
The sheen has been taken out of Tendulkar’s career, just like in the case of Kapil Dev who prolonged his career just to get to the record number of wickets.
It’s a sad scenario, but also an important lesson in bowing out at the right time. Or some might say, humility.
It looks like Rahul Dravid will be the poster boy for a generation who wears its passion on its sleeve.