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.
Like every kid looking for a super hero, I finally saw mine
His frail face, unassuming talk made him an instant friend who I never saw, but could connect to easily.
He looked like someone who was amongst us, very unlike a hero.
Back then, we had just one TV channel in India.
Although it could be touted as the shining beacon of monotony and tiresomeness, that channel aired this interview which is now freely available on youtube.
You would instantly know why he was so easy to connect to for the kids of my generation.
Like every starry eyed kid, I watched his antics on the cricket field.
The enthusiasm gave way to adoration.
He just seemed to capture the imagination of a nation.
For a nation used to working hard to earn their living, he provided the relief and the cheer when they switched on their television sets for a game of cricket.
When he hit Abdul Qadir for 3 sixes in one over, he announced to the cricketing world that this, ladies and gentlemen, is an Indian.
An Indian named Sachin R. Tendulkar.
From the big bullies of West Indies to the spin quartets of Pakistan
From the wily australians to the regal Englishmen, everyone sat up and took notice of this 16 year old guy.
Over the years, the continents that he travelled and the surfaces that he played on, he conquered everything that came in the way.
With 35,000 international cricket runs, he was now towering above the world of cricket like an emperor who had earned his masses.
His facebook page, now all of 6 months has 8.8 million followers.
When 'Toruk Makto' played, everyone watched.
In doing so, he unwittingly, realized the dream of a small boy struggling at his level in a city, south of India.
I had got selected in my school team.
That streak is long gone now.
But a recent incident rekindled the old times.
I met a school friend settled in USA early this year, when he came home. His name is Vikram & I thought of him as the best fast bowler in our school.
He told me :
"I still remember that six you hit off me, which went on top of the building next to the ground".
And this coming from a guy who I considered the best fast bowler of our school.. I could only think of one guy to thank.
Sachin R. Tendulkar.
He was the one who taught me to believe.
I was and am an average cricketer, but it was only inspiration which turned a gawky school kid to a presentable player on the field.
I will be ever-indebted to him for that.
Like every letter I post on my blog about Sachin, I prove the critics wrong with data and statistics.I am not going to do that today because this is not about 'them'.
I have achieved the confidence to go out in the open and question his critics, give them a nice little punch on their nose, but today, I won't.
I have got the courage to ask them what their achievements have been all their life? But, I'll leave that for another day.
I have had numerous fights in person debating with people on Sachin-data and they've woefully lost. But today is not that day.
Today, for me, is the saddest day in my life.
It's like an emotional shutdown which I knew was coming, but now that it has come, I don't know how to react.
Ladies & gentleman, I am proud to say and believe that he may not be God, but he isn't any lesser...
for me at least.
I know I am sounding like an emotional fool, but I'll let my guard down for today.
With very moist eyes and a gut-wrenchingly choking feeling, I write & I know that for me : This is truly the end of an era.
And like all my posts about HIM, I would again sign off with the same words :
I won't bow specially this time, for I have been in that position since 1989."
All respect Sir. Life will always miss you.
- A true Sachin Tendulkar fan.
PS : Seeing HIM in flesh & blood 13 times in my life on this planet & getting his 'real' autograph have been the foremost achievements in my life.
What's new with me?
I feel i have grown up.. because these days i look down on the younger generation :)
Building a website? Try fatcow through the link below and support me . It's really cool & easy. It would earn me some commission too.: