A journey called Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar was never just about cricket to me. Cricket was only a medium. Tendulkar was always my ego. An ego that drove several emotions like pride, joy, sorrow, character, aspirations, might and most importantly hope inside me.
It was the late 80′s and early 90′s when like any regular kid, I too sought a hero to identify with. There was no internet. No Youtube. No Facebook. There were books . There was television. And there were the movies. Kapil Dev was in the evening of his career. And Amitabh Bacchhan was no more the angry young man he used to be. That is when a 16 years young, unassuming boy straight out of high school, with curly hair, squeaky voice but a lethal combination of humility and genius came by. A kid prodigy who looked like one us. Felt like one of us.
There were stories. Stories of the great Abdul Kadir challenging a 16 year old who later hit him for four sixes in an over. Stories of a gutsy 119 by a 17 year old in reply to the English mocking him that he is well past his bed time and that he has to wake up for school the next day. There were stories and more stories. But then, there was only one hero. A regular looking schoolboy out to conquer the world with a piece of wood in his hands. Yes, I found my superhero. A superhero who existed for real. A superhero who came across as the nice guy when he is not going about his business of conquering the world. And what more !! He was Indian.
He was the superhero I could see , hear and feel inside me.
It was never Tendulkar, who was challenging, destroying or losing to an opponent. It was always me. I was Sachin Tendulkar. A Tendulkar success was my celebration and a Tendulkar failure, my pain. Today, Harry Potter or Batman may be the alter-ego of several kids around the world. However, even today, Tendulkar is my ego. An ego that has been massaged for 22 years by his genius, humility, rationale and commitment beyond self. An ego I will continue to aspire to be.
Needless to say, a part of me would die, the day Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar walks into the sunset.
(On behalf of all those who shared this beautiful journey which we hope could never end, much against the inevitable)