A reserved kid barely 7 years old, I struggled to make a place for myself in my peer group.
I did not have the courage to go out there and announce to the 'cool confident' people, that this is me.. I also want to play with you.
I was too reserved and gawky to do that.

Each day, I would think I'll join my neighbours the next day and each day would pass.
Looking outside the window every night, a jambul tree swayed and the air made shrill noises. 
I looked outside each night and prayed for a day when I play the game that I loved the most, with 'them'.
But it just did not seem to happen.

 
 
The day has come. History has once again been made.
He is the superman from India. The man of the century.

The date : 16th March, 2012.
The name : Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
The record : A 100 international 100s.

Till yesterday, there were illiterates having an opinion on Sachin Tendulkar.
People were advising him on how his future should be handled.
Spare a thought gentlemen, he has spent 23 years in this profession and is by far the most unparalleled icon the world has ever produced.
Today, the ever so incorrigible Nasser Hussain, said he should be placed above Sir Don Bradman for there is no doubt that when it comes to longevity, consistency & brilliance, even the Don could not come close.
The country has been in a delirium since 5 pm today.
Festivals being celebrated, sweets distributed across the nation.
The same media houses , the same cricket illiterates who asked for his head till yesterday come up with nothing else on them but Sachin.
There are aartis being performed  on the news channels. Bloody hypocrites.
Kapil Dev(please refer to my previous blog post), pops up on the TV today, sticks out his head & says, "Sachin is a legend, looking at him, I want him to play, to continue & maybe score 15 more."
What an irony!

But what I witnessed today, isn't something I would like to dampen with the pedestrian opinions of media houses.
I do not have a memory of Sachin Tendulkar when he played first  in 1989.
I was too young to assimilate the genius of the man then.
The first I saw of him was 1993 world cup, where he made a couple of 50s.
I liked his name then. The sound of Ten-dul-kar felt nice.
Through the next 6 years, he became not just mine, but the country's obsession.
The 'desert storm' innings is a part of the folklore now.

15 years down the line, I am going to, like millions of others, tell my kid : "Hey look, you wanna know what dedication, hardwork & patriotism is? Watch this.. the desert storm...on youtube(provided google doesn't go bust by then)"

His ferocity for runs at 39 is something which people have at 23.
His popularity is such that Shah Rukh Khan would be embarrassed if he and Sachin ever shared the stage.
Despite all this, he chooses to be mum, polite & humble all the time.
Through the 23 years, people have taunted him, ridiculed and slighted him with terms like
'Endulkar', he has remained the same humble, mellow person.
Everytime he replied, but only with his bat.
Not once in his 23 years did I ever hear him using expletives or retorting angrily to the raucous media.
The endulkar was predicted by the media and cricket pundits in 1996.
Some of those people must be in their graves by now.
Sachin has continued 16 years after that and mind you, like a star.

Myth
People come up with all kinds of false statistics saying that whenever he scores a ton, India loses.
Reality
Out of his 49 ODI 100s till date, India has won 33, lost 14, drawn 1, no result 1.

The true measure of his following is illustrated by the below video.
This was shot at my workplace today.
Despite hectic work, people chose to stop, pause & come to watch their hero.
They came to a place where they would otherwise not go to.
We went to the drivers' retiring room in the multi-level-parking-lot. That's the only place a television is available.
The small room was filled to capacity.
People trickled in when Sachin reached 50 and stayed on exactly till he got out.
Even the 'helicopter baba' in the slog overs couldn't keep the crowd on. People left as soon as Sachin got out.

Check out the feverish adulation that this man got. Scroll to 2 mins & 59 seconds directly because this video isn't particularly a short one.

Please excuse the poor quality of the video and the bad angles. Shooting through the crowd was a challenge.

A 100 100s and look at his reaction in HD now.
Muted, satisfied and content. His trademark 'look-to-the-sky' also a part of it.
Don't miss the uncharacteristic tap on his helmet, showing something to the dressing room.
Check the video at 0:23 seconds for this.
He is almost saying, this milestone is for an Indian to achieve (tapping the helmet pointing to the Indian flag).
His interview after reaching the milesone.
It's true when they say that you don't realize a person's worth till he is long gone.
But this man isn't yet gone. He is amidst us.
We live the spectacle every time he comes on field.
We watch him in awe, we adore him, we can't get enough of him.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, you have achieved the unthinkable.
Live on. Rock on.