Sachin Tendulkar – The Last Innings…
A thousand odd, if not more, articles have been written over the span of just a year on this precious martyr of our home. An entire spectrum of articles across all genres, right from demanding, advising, analyzing, pleading and finally even countering his deadline of retirement; from starters to accomplished intellectuals who have all the passion, wisdom, experience, ability or in the least a desire for some sensational audience. Either ways, they have all succeeded in garnering enough attention for themselves and at worse, more in the little master’s mind.
When I was a kid, my father always held my hand as we walked past the honking hurried traffic. Those were the days of my faltering judgement and I was only too glad to look up to him daily when we successfully made it across and plant a kiss. But over the years, I realized that despite the fact that I had grown, he still continued to hold my hand as we neared the road. Initially I cringed on this aspect, moaning as an adolescent denied his little freedom to flaunt. But later looking a little deeper, I realized that like most, I had failed to see that the action had remained the same whilst the experience modified. The grasp essentially has remained the same, while the grip is now different.
Back then, certainly it was his way to make sure I was safe amidst all the million unknown dangerous tides. But today, probably it’s not about giving me protection me anymore, but instead taking a little support for his tired legs. Somewhere along the way, he surely would have figured that he’s caught up with time and understood that he needs me more than I once needed him. And when I realized this intent behind his grasp, I no longer complained but took pride in lending a hand.
This timely shoulder of support in gratitude could never make up for all that he did for so many years. And either way, desired or despised, I realized ‘this will not last forever!’
Well the story of ‘Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’ isn’t one bit different. Precisely the reason I’ve christened him the ‘father of Indian’, if not world, Cricket!
For close to quarter of a century, the man has defied more odds than can be imagined to gift a billion people a smile every time he walked out with a bat. In a land that has too many troubles to count and reasons to divide, he’s been one constant unifying answer of joy. Enough has been said and written about the influence of this enigma on the audience and I seek to take no more space myself. Neither do I wish to harp on his gigantic numbers and stats piled, because that’s for the future’s perception of a legend they weren’t as blessed to watch in action. For our times, it was all about the little master and his mystical show. It seldom mattered that for so many years our nation wasn’t a top ranked team in the world, satisfied in the shadow of this dark knight’s conquests.
He gave us all so much in his every outing. And in my opinion, the greatest lesson the master taught was the art of embracing defeat in life, not as an end but a pause along the eternal show. We crib and lose heart in a failure after every short trial. But in his realization of a lifelong desire in the 2011 World Cup triumph, we find an inspirational tale demonstrating that sometimes dreams can take a lifetime, even if the dreamer in question is Sachin!
Some argue that we Indians are too emotional, unlike the brash Aussies, regarding our adoration that denies us as much victory. Probably that’s what defines our unique identity as a cultured society that has learnt to give a human his due respect. For a martyr who has dedicated his entire lifetime to make the nation proud, it’s so unbecoming of ourselves to label him in his dying moments as selfish. Wouldn’t he know better to walk off the scene when his conscience pricked him in the knowledge of occupying an undeserving place?
This may very well be his final phase of innings in his career that we will ever get to see. Therefore, let’s learn to show a little gratitude and give this aging father a timely hand. One look at his game today reflects a wounded warrior succumbing to his mental frailties, beaten more from our tireless abuse rather than his aging reflexes. After all his selfless displays of a celibate on the pompous arena of glory for a lifetime at the expense of everything he sacrificed, often when ‘we least deserved him,’ it’s time we gave the senile genius in his twilight of desperate times, a little support when ‘He needs us the most!’
When he does hang his boots one day, the show will obviously continue, for he was essentially a mere part of a greater tale called cricket, even if he was its favourite hero. More sequels will follow with each volume unique and celebrated in its own right, gifting every era their proud son. But my only prayer for now is that we shouldn’t go down in history as that ungrateful era that exiled its greatest hero because of a little selfishness. A little patience couldn’t hurt. And certainly a few losses wouldn’t be too hard to digest in memory of his fading valour.
Let us realize that ‘When one walks a thousand miles, he certainly knows when to stop!’