Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sachin: He will be missed not because a hero retired but because 'a giant who was a gentleman' won't play anymore !



Image sourced from internet
I don't watch cricket.
I have not watched cricket in past ten years.
And the reason is Sachin.


 

Not because I didn't like him...but because I loved him too much. Being a fast bowler in school-college, I can safely say cricket is in my blood. I stopped playing years back after a spine injury but kept watching it on TV. But then I realized somewhere I was getting a little attached to cricket...a little too addicted to Sachin. And when he would play my heartbeats would go erratic, when he would be out in 90's, just missing a century, I would be sad for days. I would hate everyone around me n sulk.

Then one day...in The Times of India I read a small news item how a man died of heart attack when Sachin got out on a score of 90 something...that day, just like that, that moment, I stopped watching cricket. I loved him but I was not going to die of a heart attack for him...because of him.

Those who are addicted to sports, those who scream for their country n their heroes, know exactly what it means ! As a kid I worshiped Kapil Dev-to the extent that when I saw him once in Delhi entering his car, I caught him n held his hand n didn't leave it till he gave his address n promised to meet again. I still remember the feel of that hand -giant, warm, powerful, reassuring it felt. There were no mobile phones then but I had his address...so I went n waited n waited...till he had that promised cup of tea with me. Only a fan knows the meaning of being a fan.

Once I stopped watching cricket, I never bothered to even know who was playing against whom- even during the world cups. Surprisingly it was easy to forget cricket...it was easier to breathe...n much time saved to be utilized for other stuff. But every time India won, I celebrated in my own way-not because of cricket...but because of India winning-it could have been anything.

Amidst news of betting, match fixings n the new age of IPL n T20's- Cricket wasn't a game anymore, it was pure business where players were mere 'products' marketed by their managers n media. They were not interested in cricket...but money it could get them. Somehow the spirit of the game died. The pressure was enough to kill the cricketers. Heroes in one match n torn apart in the next! The quickest was the media- always on the safest side-sensing the mood of supporters- if India won, they would be quick to compile all bytes n interviews...n if they failed, they were quicker to rip them apart. After all only sensationalism gets viewership n good TRP's gets great sponsorships. The marketing of the game killed it’s soul. From T shirts to caps & bats, to the pitches -everything is branded. Everything is money. Cricketers like Sachin might still play for the country but cricket boards play for money !

But one man always stood taller than all of this- Sachin Tendulkar ! At 5 ft 4 inches, he was the tallest of his contemporaries around the globe. Today he is in fact the tallest Indian.
He was beyond all this, a silent volcano on the field...a gentleman to the core- it is players like him who give dignity to a game. I don't believe in giving mortals, terms like "God of cricket"- but he surely was ‘the soul of cricket’. Gods tend to be moody n choose to be kind when they wish to be. He was always the same. He was the way a hero should be: great in his game, non-controversial, humble & always at ease. Everything comes with a breaking point, but not him. There were people ready to rip him apart, engage him in controversies-but he never took the bait.

In spite of all the controversies of the game, Indian cricket has had some great people-not just in the game but were great also as human beings. Unfortunately media didn’t find much value in marketing them.

I remember when Sourav Ganguly was at the peak of his career n I ran an event management company- we had done an activity with Coke in few cities- where he was supposed to be taken to selected 4 houses which had won that activity. He was shy, gentleman n quiet mostly through the day. His fans went berserk wherever I took him. When we were almost done I got a call from a little girl I knew. She had lost her father just a week back, but she wanted to meet Sourav Ganguly. I told Sourav about it, he didn't hesitate a second before saying yes. It wasn't on schedule so I had to manage security n everything asap before we reached. Sourav was at his lively best with that little girl. He made her smile n treated like his own daughter. For me it was an unforgettable experience. For me suddenly Sourav was a real hero...n not a star who had endorsed a brand n was only fulfilling his commitments.

It's not just how you perform on the field, but also off the field that makes real heroes. And about Sachin I have heard countless stories. Even if I didn't hear, just the way he gives that shy smile...n the gentleness in his eyes- speaks volumes of his greatness.

With or without media- he is a hero.

Ever since I turned a photographer I been shooting with lot of cricketers- n I recognized none of them during the shoots, except for Shane Warne ( cos he is always in news somehow or  the other) or Rahul Dravid( cos he had been playing for real long). My assistants come n tell me ‘this’ guy is the captain of New Zealand or fast bowler from Australia- n I smile n tell them- 'Great ! Now if you are done with admiring them-lets quickly finish the shoot n leave."

I don't even know what IPL is, n don't even want to know. It’s definitely business at its best. In a country where we are taught to bend n touch the ground below our feet, where we perform, whether it’s sports or dance or theater; where cricket is a religion, I wouldn’t understand dancers dancing on unbearable music, awards on sixes n fours, players getting drunk at night n getting into mindless brawls,etc etc....where is the game?  The best years of cricket are now behind- and in that context Sachin was the last of the legends created by that game.
For me, after Kapil Dev, only Sachin actually mattered.

Why are we sad if he won't play anymore? 24 years he has played, n that's more than enough. 24 years he has stayed away from his family, his mother gotten older n kids all grown up. His loving wife spent barely a fraction of time she deserved to spend with him. It’s time for him to be with them. Isn't it ? Now his contribution to sports, off the field, would be so much more valuable.
I think in these recent times when only controversies have surrounded the game, cricket will miss Sachin Tendulkar- not because a hero retired but because a Giant, who was a Gentleman, won't play anymore!
His farewell speech was emotional. The most beautiful sight for me, during his last match, was not the galaxy of stars present there or that Amir Khan also did the commentary or that millions had his face n name tattooed on their bodies or that fans were crying- but the sight of his mother...watching him play in stadium for the first time ...n the last. She looked graceful, amazing n one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever seen. Sachin didn’t have to tell that she prayed for him all the time- even in his last match, anybody could make out, she was still praying.
He thanked his father, mother, wife, brother, his guru, other relatives & his teammates.  A man who can love his family like that, respect his Guru till the last day of his career, be true to the game n his fans, be loyal to his country, remain so humble- for me he is the real Hero. No wonder at the age of 40, he could still smile like 16 years old because of purity in heart.
He has now been officially awarded the Bharat Ratna- he always was!
And yes, he managed to show his other side, something which the world thought their ‘God’ never did...he let a few tears escape those eyes.
And that makes him every bit human like the rest of us...in spite of being the legend he is.
I just wonder what emptiness would engulf him...once all the 'shor' dies down!

pravin talan
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6 comments:

Paramita said...

A supetbly written blog!! Really loved every bit of it!!!

Ash : njoyin... said...

Pravin Sir, loved the way you put your heart out. Millions share their own sachin moments , rare ones met him, even rarer ones played with him. Its true , as his wife rightly said, he always always belonged to the Country first & then anyone else!

For men may come and men may go, but Sachin goes on for ever

Cheers

pravin talan said...

Thank you Paramita....Ash...!

Srijith P V said...

Superbly written. Echoed the sentiments of an Indian and sports lover who thinks above and beyond the blind fan-fare!

"I don't believe in giving mortals, terms like "God of cricket"- but he surely was ‘the soul of cricket’. Gods tend to be moody n choose to be kind when they wish to be. He was always the same. He was the way a hero should be: great in his game, non-controversial, humble & always at ease. Everything comes with a breaking point, but not him. There were people ready to rip him apart, engage him in controversies-but he never took the bait."

and...

"And yes, he managed to show his other side, something which the world thought their ‘God’ never did...he let a few tears escape those eyes. And that makes him every bit human like the rest of us...in spite of being the legend he is. I just wonder what emptiness would engulf him...once all the 'shor' dies down! "

Superbly written :)

rema said...

Lovely. This blog is simple,honest and written from the heart. You have actually put many of our thoughts into words as to why Sachin is adored so much by one and all.....Thanks for putting clarity into my thoughts :)

Ananta Narayan Swain said...

they said no word to describe the god .but you did it very simply . nice post feeling respect .