This week, Sachin Tendulkar Sachin Tendulkars from Sachin Tendulkar, drawing the Sachin Tendulkars on a glorious Sachin Tendulkar. In other news, LOL chess. If you’re Indian and you did something awesome this week like find the cure for cancer, AIDS or Vivek Oberoi, then I’m sorry you have such horrible timing. This week has been like the Indian cricket team in the 90s -- all about Sachin.
It’s all completely over the top and vulgar, of course, but then again, we’ve never been subtle about saying farewell to our gods. Some pundits hate the ‘Sachin is God’ worldview, so it’s a good thing I’m no pundit. Besides, gods aren’t made of talents and flaws, they’re made of myths. And as those go, Sachin’s is one for the ages. You don’t have to be a match-winner as long as you can be a gamechanger.
India has produced some very entertaining batsmen in the last 24 years, and they’ve served us better than we remember. But they’re the Gotham Central Police Force. Tendulkar’s the Batman. He’s the shadow bowlers tell their kids about when they won’t behave, the Dementor that sucks the joy out of fielding. And like Batman, he started off awesome, got even better as he went along, but in the end we all wondered, “Was that last bit really necessary?”
Since comparing our lives to the length of Sachin’s career is all the rage right now, here’s my timeline. I was seven years old when Sachin Tendulkar started playing cricket. I don’t remember the names of a lot of the kids I played with then. I don’t remember the faces of some of my teachers. I do remember, as an 11 year-old, the last over of the Hero Cup. Or the 90 against Australia at Wankhede in the ’96 World Cup, the first match my dad took me to. I was 13 years old, a six landed near us. It was the coolest thing that had ever happened to me, or well, near me.
And then there was Sharjah, 1998, or as they call it in Australia, Martyrs’ Day. He launched into Shane Warne with a ferocity and determination that I have since seen only in an Angry Bird. I’ll never forget the screaming in my living room as he pulled us over that line with what seemed like pure force of will. And that straight drive.
[PAUSE IN ARTICLE TO ALLOW EVERYONE TO SPEND SOME ALONE TIME WITH THE THOUGHT OF THAT STRAIGHT DRIVE]
Ah! As I was saying before this cigarette, when Sachin was in the Batzone, we just threw in our lot with him. If he won us a game, you felt like you had a good day in a good week of a good life. When he got out, fix hai!
With Sachin retiring, it feels like the end of my generation of cricket viewing. He’s the last of the cricketers from what I perceive as my era as a cricket fan, the last of the Mohicans I grew up watching. I’ll still watch of course, but everything from here on out is someone else’s dream, someone else’s great generation. I lay my dreams to rest peacefully though, with no regrets. Because I have lived in the time of Sachin. And as Rumi once said, “Aila plane!”
Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi