Today, as the clock struck 12:15 pm (Indian Standard Time), it was hard not to go back, even if for a second, to a simpler time. A time without strategic time-outs and cheerleaders. A time without human auctioning and corporate über Lust. A time where it was just about the sport, the occasion. A time, which was embodied by one man.
That man is Sachin Tendulkar. Now I don’t expect our international (non-cricketing) followers to know who he is or to understand how one person can mean so much to a billion. Hell, I’ve been trying to explain it to my European friends for over 8 years now. When he batted, we watched. When he spoke, we listened. That is the kind of power he had over us. And all that without the loud, invasive campaigning of politicians or the krass, forced mental onslaught of filmstars through their undergarment advertisements and unnecessary ponytails. Sachin just did his job. And we were sold.
To give you an idea of the kind of pressure that Sachin went through in his career, just imagine if you worked at McDonalds. There were 10 other people working with you, mostly with mediocre burger making skills and you were the undisputed star Cheeseburger flipper. There were about 7 other competing burger joints, usually with better working conditions as well as raw materials, trying to make life very difficult for you. Add to that the small matter of one billion people hoping and praying that you make the perfect burger every single time. You usually did, but when you didn’t, you were criticised in the local media for being past it and selfishly making burgers for your own personal gain. Your one mistake would break millions of hearts. Now, imagine that for every single day for over 24 years.
You made us smile, Sachin. You made us cry. But never once did you let us down. Because when it didn’t work out, we knew it hurt you more. You’ve been there for us in times of duress and need, without you even knowing it. You’ve represented us. You’ve given us a reason to be proud. More than anything, you made us believe. Made us believe that anything was possible.
Thank you, Sachin. Thanks for everything.