Sachin Tendulkar: Our Hero!

If I nudge my brain and sit back to think about Sachin Tendulkar, I’d be honest enough to state that for me the words ‘Cricket’ and ‘Tendulkar’ have been synonymous, always. When I was small, I would gaze at my father and his friends get together in our drawing room as they watched cricket matches that never seemed to end. Looking back at those times, I truly confess that I didn’t bother a great deal for Cricket because my little mind would accuse the sport when my father avoided my rants being too engrossed in a game that didn’t make much sense to me. Also, it snatched away the TV from me for hours at a go. And yet, if anybody ever did talk about Cricket, the name ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ would consistently chime in my ears. He was the first cricketer who ever existed for me; the first batsman for whom I cheered; the first individual who drove me into this game of balls and bats.
As years passed by, I identified with the sport in a better way. I would play with my friends and I wanted to bat, all the time. I constantly craved to be Tendulkar in those matches. I know that’s quaint; I am a girl right? Although, now when I think of it, I ask the world- ‘Who doesn’t want to be this man?’ There came a phase in my life when I would watch cricket matches with immense fervor. After every fifteen minutes of the match, I would go to the temple of my house and pray; pray for him to be there on the field till the match goes on. I am not exaggerating here. I still remember how each four and six that he hit would make me and my brother yell with joy and how we almost cried when he got out. This man has an unrivaled charisma and today, after 24 long years of his career in cricket, you’d still see how all the children on the streets brawl to be called the ‘Tendulkar’ of their trivial gully matches.
On 16th November, 2013, Tendulkar retired and bid farewell to Cricket. In India, they say-‘God retired that day.’ More than half of the country was left in tears as they heard him give his departure speech. His words really did stir people’s hearts and brought about the eerie consciousness that Cricket will never be the same again. It’s not effortless to grow to be the man he is because triumph comes as an upshot of plentiful sacrifices and brings about a huge responsibility to fulfill towards the nation and its people. Sachin started his training at an early age when he would lug a kit heavier than his weight and dart into the field for practice. His coach Ramakant Achrekar would give him a coin for every batting session that he cleared without getting out. If someone did thrive in taking his wicket, the coin was given to the bowler.  Sachin played with perseverance and fortitude to earn those coins which were more of a mark of self-assurance and victory for his little heart. He earned 13 coins from Achrekar which are one of his most treasured possessions preserved till date.
In his farewell dialogue, Sachin cited how he had not given adequate time to his family all these years. His wife Anjali revealed that he had not celebrated Diwali at home for even a year since they got married. He is the father who never attended his children’s annual functions. In fact, while he was dating Anjali, they went for the movie ‘Roza’ to a cinema hall where Sachin masked his real self by sporting an artificial beard and a pair of specs. However, his glasses fell down during the movie’s interval and he was thronged by his fans due to which they had to leave the movie halfway and escape. When he was as young as 11, he left his parents’ home to stay with his uncle and aunt for a few years because they resided in the locale of his cricket academy. Somewhere down the line, this great man left no stone unturned to reach the pedestal people see him at in the present day. He gave his life to cricket and to India. That’s called passion!
As Sachin retires from this sport that he converted into a Religion in the nation, he is taking away a portion of every Indian’s soul. The sounds of the audience chanting – ‘Sachin, Sachin’ on the playground may not be heard again. The countless banners and posters to champion our man as he bats may not be seen any more. But, Sachin will be there in our hearts for eternity. He will continue to be our hero and our legend as we wish him good fortune for his life ahead as he intends to give it all to his family, specifically his children who never got enough of their father. Just bear in mind what Tendulkar has relentlessly taught us: ‘No matter what you become – a cricketer, an actor, a doctor or an engineer; what matters the most is to be a good person. All the fine things will follow.’
I guess that’s why during the Australian tour of India in 1998 Matthew Hayden said: “I have seen God. He bats at no. 4 in India in Tests.”
Now you know people, ‘God doesn’t retire.’



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