Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives.
BBC Sports, On Sachin Tendulkar.
I called up my uncle after the historic innings of Sachin and the only comment he gave was, ” Yaar! Life Wasool Ho gayi!!!”. That, for me, summed up and expressed the strange satisfied emotion that was welling inside me since that evening. If ever I came close to attaining Nirvana, I guess that was it. A part of me wanted to break things, dance around, stomp around, yell at the top of my voice, jump from the office desks….it was Utopia. Let any government take us to hell, let every colony declare itself a state, let food prices make even the Tatas and Ambanis sweat. I, have lived my life.
I read every article since then that praised this feat. Felt privileged, felt honoured, felt special to be a part of this day. And it slowly dawned upon me what had really happened. India, crippled with terrorism, divisive politics, regional biases, racist attitudes, religious extremism, was united to celebrate the success of an individual. That individual was not a politician, he was not a religious leader, he did not represent any caste, creed, race, region within India. He started his day’s work as unassumingly as he finished it. But he ended up uniting 1.17 billion people.
Perhaps more than winning matches and scoring tons of runs, this is what makes Sachin the De Facto Role Model and Ambassador. Shane Warne, Glen Mcgrath are all icons, but I don’t think they can influence the Australians the way Sachin influences Indians. Even in Australia, when a child picks up a cricket bat for the first time, his ultimate dream is to emulate His Holiness.
So what do I say more? words have been exhausted, vocabularies emptied, imaginations drained and yet there is this feeling of an acute inadequacy in describing what a single person can mean to a nation that, in the present conditions, can just dream of better things.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.