Why

Why

Friday, 11 October 2013

Sachin Tendulkar: From a Child to an Adult - The Longest Transition

It was more than a drizzle. It was pouring last morning. I wondered why? A gamut of coloured leaves lay on the street and the rain washing it away. This is what I saw out of the window from my drawing room. Just as I sipped in the last bit of my ginger honey tea, I heard a beep. My throat was giving me a hard time and the hot beverage had a somewhat soothing effect.

I had to barely walk a couple of feet to pick my phone up. I had a notification and it read "Sachin Tendulkar to retire after his 200th Test" courtesy NDTV breaking news.

I quickly got on to my twitter feed and checked what’s happening. I knew this might have happened, but was more interested in the source. It was the BCCI who had made this announcement on behalf of Sachin Tendulkar.

The adages started pouring in left, right and centre. Few expressed relief while majority expressed their loss of connection to childhood - the constant he has been in cricket to many. What did I do?

Words are like perceptions and I read plenty of them. All sorts of people put in their views – Logical, cynical, sadists, critical, dramatists, cerebral, statistical, purists, fanatic, emotional and human. I was amazed and not surprised at the same time to see everyone to put in their two cents on this topic. Few pour their heart out while others wrote whatever they felt. Frankly, I didn’t want to reflect on this decision of Sachin Tendulkar. I didn’t want to. I was just reading one after the other.

As I occupied myself reading all this - Every now and then, my mind went back to those laminated picture books I have of Tendulkar (3 to 4 of those big books). It is still stacked in my room in India and remains my prized possession.

And then, I got reminded of the way I played cricket as a kid. What made me love this game to this day? Is it because the game itself was so attractive or was I influenced to take up this game?

How old was I? Let me remember, seven, six, five or even younger than that when I either picked up a bat or a ball for the first time. Our house was located away from the city centre and so I didn’t have the luxury of having too many friends. There were few (4 of us) and were of my age (what a lovely coincidence). We started playing cricket on the streets as having a proper ground was unimaginable in those days. With occasional tips from elders we were mostly on our own to understand this game and play, a challenge which we relished.

Around that time, a little phenomenon in Indian cricket was making his mark in international cricket. He was young and so were we. So it was an instant connection, a bond which became stronger by the day. I started playing cricket everywhere – on the roads, inside the house and any place which was sufficient to put bat to ball. It didn’t matter – My life was occupied with cricket, obsessed with it which made me think school and academics were extra-curricular activities.

Outside my family circle, he has been a constant throughout my life and so that connection is what’s being broken. I am now all grown up; understand life in a much better way than I did previously. He gave me immense joy, made me shed tears, made me go frenzy, made me go mad, made me frustrated, gave me that pride, gave me confidence, made me inspired, made me obsessed, made me a thinker, made me a believer, made me a guy to go after one’s dreams and it goes on........

Who is this guy? God, no; Demi-god, no; superhuman with magical powers, no; ordinary human with extreme talent, no – To me he is a kid who extended his childhood beyond the conventions of its definition. As we grow old, we get distracted by innumerable things than a child would. As an adult, I believe there is a kid in us and for Sachin Tendulkar I feel it was always the opposite. To me the association with cricket started with Tendulkar. He was a fellow kid like me with whom I could connect to whenever he played cricket.

Kids move on to the next toy or next set of challenges only when the next toy is attractive or when they are bored with the existing toy. I believe Tendulkar has reached that phase in his childhood where playing cricket no longer gave him that fun it once did. He made his retirement call to move on with his life and let the adult in him take over from now on. If cricket were to be his most favourite toy, he has utilised and played with it more than one can imagine. He will play out the final two tests as an adult, fully aware that his childhood days are now over.


A big chunk of my childhood tree has been etched out. The kid in me has lost a link. Now they will be replaced by memories of Sachin Tendulkar and his cricket playing days. I will move on, going about life the usual way with interesting things happening around and with me comes all those wonderful days of the past, recollecting my life, remembering the times when I did everything I could to just watch him play.