ByÂ Mayank Jain:
Every great story starts with Cricket. At least in India, the country with more people than any other country in the world except China and yet, where people come together under the same leaking roof during rainy days while skipping their office just to watch ‘little master’ bat.
That’s religion for you. Cricket: India’s only true religion.Â People not only follow the game religiously but they never miss a chance to show off their piousness by giving out bowling figures from the last match or counting on fingers, the number of centuries made by different opening pairs in the last series.
The power of a religion or cult lies in the resolve of its followers and their willingness to accept people from outside and make them convert in a subtle, non-intrusive way. Cricket is just that to Indians.
People may hate you for being rude but if you support Sachin and help someone with the latest score when he can’t access it then you can rest assured that you’ll always be in the good books of that person, always to be considered a friend or a fellow team mate if you will. This mania about cricket has not only grown exponentially over the years spreading far and wide rather than dying down after its growth phase, it has also turned the following stronger and absolutely determined to bleed blue, no matter what it takes.
The game reached its pinnacle when India brought the world cup home last year, finally after a wait of more than 27 years. It was a moment of revelation for rest of the world. A clear message that India has arrived and the way fans prided themselves on this win is a reminder of how strong and united we can stand in the times of need.
As I write this, the date just changed from 13th to the 14th. Its Children’s Day in India while today the child in most of us will be gone as the ‘little master’ walks out to play his last game and these 5 days are going to be a harsh reminder that all good things have to come to an end. One can’t praise Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar enough for what he has given to the country and to the game but there are only a few among us who will still watch the game with as much passion as they did, until now. My father and grandfather won’t.
There is a stillness in the atmosphere right now. Everybody is a little bogged down and hurt somewhere deep down since the God himself is taking leave from a religion and yet we are choosing not to acknowledge it. People tweet when they are alone in their room to tell the world how much they want to thank Sachin, but none of them is going out to talk to friends about it because the event is just too emotional to handle.
Maybe Sachin should have never left. After 24 years, the game is going to be just another game instead of a religion. There is only so much that a fan can do at the moment: watch videos dedicated to him, make Sachin the centre of his existence in the digital sphere by changing his cover pictures and profile pictures or by showing off his personalized Sachin picture given by BCCI on Twitter. But, it isn’t going to be easy let alone fast to forget the man who gave meaning to our lives. When no one else was shining, Sachin was on his peak. When we weren’t winning anywhere else, we were still making Australia shudder.
Because God never left us. He has been taking care of our happiness all this time asking nothing in return and some idlers who just got tired of their monotonous lives asked him to retire but never realized that some of them wouldn’t even have become sports journalists after all if he didn’t play.
He gave us hopes, aspirations and a desire to succeed. People who don’t know or like cricket admire him for his personal qualities and his sense of determination.
These are the last 5 days when we will experience the thrill of watching him play. There can’t be too many things as uncommon as walking our God, walk away from the game, forever.
The man who played with such tenacity and devotion to the game will not find it easy to walk away just like that. A large part of his life has gone to the game and he is surely going to wake up on some afternoon and feel nauseated and homesick missing the field and his fans. The least we can do is support him, thank him and be proud of him. As much as possible and as publicly as possible. He needs to know that because he stood for all of us for so long, we are standing behind him at this moment. It is his moment and he needs to know that he has done more than what anyone else ever will.
Surely, a player can’t be bigger than the game itself but he is no common man and he doesn’t deserve to go like one. #ThankYouSachin