Where do I begin? Where do I end? Do I begin with the earliest memory of you – the Boost ad? Or the desert storm innings? Or the earliest WC that resides firmly in my memory – the ’03? The tears that flowed at the night of the final? The resurgence after every ‘Endulkar’ episode? The stage when God descended to a mortal?
My mind is like a Pisaca now; so many photographs of you are popping up. The innings of 241 is to my right, the masterful 175 is to my left, the demolition of Pakistan, the uppercuts, the straight drives, you holding WC aloft…
So many memories colliding at a same time!
A phone call from a friend turned the serene afternoon suddenly sombre Was showers with heavy winds an omen to what was to come? I was trying – in vain – to come to terms with the heartbreak. As if reading my mind, Harsha Bhogle tweeted “You knew it was coming, it was inevitable, then why Sachin do you produce so much numbness.”
We knew you would never be able to play forever. Yet we hoped. How else we could think? For a generation, like mine, who were born after you made your international debut, you were everything. We learnt cricket from you. We watched cricket for you. We worshipped you. When we know we will never be able to see your name on that Indian scorecard again, our hearts skips a beat. You are to us like how cricket is to you. Our age is your experience.
It can’t happen. Our hearts failed to accept. It’s as if someone you loved and treasured has suddenly vanished. Gone forever. That’s what we are feeling now. The overpowering numbness!
My heart wouldn’t beat faster anymore when someone nears a century. I shall not search for fake excuses to see someone bat. Shiva, Muruga and Vinayaga will be spared without my requests to shower you with that extra luck. I won’t sit at a same place while seeing a match, I won’t wear the same shirt again and again, and my silly superstitions will stay silly. I won’t feel sad when a batsman gets out.TV, remote, mobile phone and anything that’s breakable will stay unbreakable. I won’t feel heartbroken anymore.
Do you sense what are you taking with you Sachin? Life out of cricket. Emotions out of it. The joy of seeing your broad bat coming in a straight line showing who is the boss against the best, the child-like enthusiasm you possess and evoke in your fans, the silence upon your dismissal, a roar as you see the sun while crossing the rope, chants of ‘Sachin Sachin’ whenever ball touches you, overawing of players around you, and the numbness we feel right now as you leave.
When will I feel all these again?
Could someone turn the clock to 1989 and we start living all over again? So that we could see you coming as a teenager – the boy wonder. Then maturing as a genius batsman. Then redefining the record books as the greatest batsman. But time warp happens only in science-fictions. If I have the power to make you younger, I would do that happily. But magic doesn’t happen in this world. If I have to give you 10 of my younger years, I would give you that. A billion would do that. A billion years you would have. But fantasies rarely come true.
Sachin, you aren’t leaving cricket. You are taking a part with you. Part of me. Part of my life. Cricket will never be the same again. I shall never be the same again. We shall live with pain, live in reality. You raced against time forever. But time is such an unsavoury master. It finally got you. We will live in memories. Memories of you that are locked in a part of our heart. Memories we shall visit for the rest of our lives. We shall live in limbo!
Thank you, Sachin. Thank you for inspiring us, enriching our lives, evoking so much happiness that we never knew, and evoking extreme sadness. Thanks for doing what you did! We shall remain eternally grateful for you!
Written By : Ashwin Krishnamurthy
– one in a billion!