Write & Earn

Looks like Sachin is human after all

Sachin Tendulkar is not good at roles that are given to him. He may have been one of the best judges of taking a single safely, but he is not too great a judge of whether he can complete something that is given to him.

Sachin Tendulkar

Growing up, every now and then, I would come across the question about why I was so obsessed with Tendulkar. In school, during college, on playgrounds, and on TV. The person, that critic, this one in a million would look left, look right, and when convinced of his safety, would whisper to me “Why do you folks like Tendulkar so much?”

And I would shake my head, and chuckle like condescending old men chuckle, and say in as gruff a voice as possible, “Son, you have got it wrong. You don’t understand.”

And then I would explain the difference between the most fanatic of his followers, and the ones like me lost unbelievably in admiration. I would tell the critic why we folks like Tendulkar so much.

The thing is I don’t worship Tendulkar. Never have. Yet, I admire him like you cannot even imagine. Gods and statues and symbols are worshipped. Great men, of bone and flesh, are to be admired. And lessons are to be learnt to improve our own insignificant lives.

The greatness of Sachin

The straight drive. The shy, almost unnoticeable, glance at the heavens. The famous, yet deeply disturbing squat. Those desert evenings and those unforgettable moments Down Under. The piles of runs. Those delightful years growing up. All of this may be sacrosanct to those worshipping Tendulkar, but to the admirers like me it was something beyond the man in White, and the slightly chubby boy in blue. It was the person after the bails were removed.

It was that flight back from Mumbai to England when a father had died. The loyalty.

It was the restraint in every single of those 241 runs at Sydney. The discipline.

It was the hours in the net, in spite of the gift of talent. The hard work.

It was those late night reckless IPL parties skipped. The focus.

It was the zero response on being sledged, followed by that lofted six the next ball. That little boy telling a bully to go screw himself.

It was the Tendulkar Template on why being good and being successful at what you do are never exclusive to each other. Tendulkar was never a God. Yet, he was more than human.

.. and the failure

On being asked about his continuous absence from Rajya Sabha, Tendulkar said it was because of his elder brother Ajit’s bypass surgery. Hmmm. Let me take a moment before typing the next sentence. Let me take a deep breath. Here it is.

I am disappointed. Sigh. Deeply disappointed in Sachin Tendulkar.

Sachin is close to his brother, and the medical illness is without doubt a private and important thing for him. But Sachin, and only he needs to ask himself this brutal question, “Is that good enough reason for the nature of your innings at the Parliament?”

Truth be told, what transpires at the Rajya Sabha can be subject to debate, yet the institution’s importance cannot. It is the upper house of the Parliament of India. It is the seat of the largest democracy in the world. More important than a sportsman’s trophy shelf, more revered than the elusive honours board at Lord’s, more influential than even those corporate boxes at Wankhede. Not a book signing event, a tennis match, or a ribbon cutting event. The Rajya Sabha. It is a thing not to be taken lightly.

Can there be a bigger honour than being the first sportsman to be nominated as a Member of Parliament? Can there be a more disproportionate thank-you gesture to a man who has served and inspired a nation disproportionately well?

The lesson

And here is the lesson that Tendulkar can do well to learn. For once, he has a chink in his armour, a failure that surprisingly someone like Sachin, who has spent a lifetime overcoming his weaknesses and circumstances, has still not addressed.

Sachin Tendulkar is not good at roles that are given to him. He may have been one of the best judges of taking a single safely, but he is not too great a judge of whether he can complete something that is given to him.

Captainship thrust on to him. Failure.

Made an Honorary Group Captain in the Indian Air Force. Deep failure, to a point when the proud men in Uniform had to tell him that since he had been too busy to take up the rare honour of flying a Sukhoi jet to inspire youngsters, they are now too busy to continue with him as brand ambassador.

Nominated as a Member of Parliament. Failure. And truth be told, a lame excuse for an explanation. Honestly, there are more busy men than him. And truth be told, there are bigger tragedies that people have dealt with.

And this is coming from that fan who as a kid would start a physical confrontation whenever Tendulkar was criticized. From a fan who will still do it for the rest of his time on earth. 

And before any of you Tendulkar critics say “I told you so”, you know what? In a weird twisted way, no matter how disappointed in Tendulkar I feel today, the Parliament situation strangely strengthens my admiration for the things he did in the past. For it only shows that Tendulkar is not a God. Things did not come easy to him. He is a mere man. A man who errs, who fails. Yet a man, who managed to do superhuman things in the past like no one else could.

And if he is better at making choices from now on, a man who will continue doing so in the future.

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