Saturday, 16 November 2013

Being a Legend | Adios to Sachin Tendulkar

Somewhere I have read a banner that said about Sachin Tendulkar, 'Many compare Sachin with God. I mean he maybe great, but not as great as Sachin'.

Having left the field for one final time today, I try to pay a small tribute for everything this cricketing legend did for the country in the past 24 years of his career.

To my audience who may not know of him, I must say, he is more than just a cricketer, but truly the most loved person in India. And that indeed is the reason why he was awarded Bharat Ratna (the highest civilian honor in India) and also became the youngest person (at 40) and the first sportsperson to receive the award.

When Sachin showed up in the cover of the TIME magazine

Along the unfathomable walks through
Streets that overwhelmed my vehement
Desires to keep track of the moments
That a nation forgets to take a breath,
I found devotees of a God that proclaimed
Neither of the miracles he performed, nor
Of the souls he led onto salvation, but
About a prodigy who could inspire lives.

Fasts went on till the final images of him
Shown on their old yet priceless television sets
Brought (perhaps egoistically) to steal the sight
Of a person who became their lover, brother,
Son, and friend. Even the scurrying rats of the thankless
Slums spread faith today (rather than epidemics),
As he took the final lap of honor.

I felt blessed to find his face etched forever
In my memory, to hear the chants of his name
Reverberating louder than prayers of a 'holy'
Nation, to feel the rhythm of the spell with
Which he envelopes the devotees with his
Wooden stick, to find my eyes disturbed
With an unguarded sprout of tears.

What happens from now? Where shall the
Countless worshipers go to seek peace?
Whom shall they consult during adversity?
Who shall guide them onto light?
Men may come and go, shouting hymns
And planting hysteria, creating God's
That are reduced to the boundaries of a
Lifeless stone and charmless shrine, and
Dissecting lives ever more, but a legend
Shall rarely come by again, to heal the
Mind and ensure credence, very unlike
A shooting star, but rather like an assuring Sun.

I remember this one time when the Indian state of Maharashtra was having a communal violence which was organised by a 'political' group called 'Shiv Sena'. They hunted down a number of non-Maharshtrians and expelled many from the city of Mumbai. Anyone who stood against them was dispelled from the pleasure of living. Sachin Tendulkar made a brave statement then that, "Mumbai belongs to India. That is how I look at it. And I am a Maharashtrian and I am extremely proud of that but I am an Indian first"
And this is probably why the last stanza may sound a bit odd when talking about a sportsperson, which obviously is not the only thing Sachin have been.

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