Sachin Tendulkar Retires

How do I begin to describe the two most fascinating days of my life – it was a “charged atmosphere” at Wankhede – every body there, was ONLY there, for one person – for that magician who had entertained and enthralled and captured the collective consciousness of a nation for 24 years… the chant of “SACHIN SACHIN” ringing out every few minutes, even when he was not involved in the play of the game… the crowd wanted their HERO to do it all – they wanted each moment of the 200th Test to be his and his alone.
The crowd cheered when any West Indian player appealed against an Indian batsman; fingers raised, and booing if the 3rd umpire declared an Indian batsman “not out”. They wanted Sachin at strike for every ball while he was out there… it was uncanny to see how everyone stood up when Sachin was on strike, and would immediately sit as Pujara took strike. It was unreal – it was like “can we just fast forward this thing, so we could have 2 innings of batting, so we can watch our HERO on strike”… as soon as he got out on the 2nd day, the stadium went silent for a few minutes; as they watched Sachin return to the pavilion, and turn once to acknowledge the crowd for what he recognized could be his last time, it felt like each one was connecting with their own core to Sachin’s – communing, saying thank you… it was a hurrah, and yet an alas… both at the same time. It felt like each one had their space with Sachin, and the rest of the world did not exist!
Moments later, and the crowd was already in the mood for declaration – as Amitabh Bachchan tweeted : I tell you the Indian mind is the most inventive in the world .. “declare and get Sachin to bat again” .. ingenious!!
My most precious moments during the match were the minutes I spent in the “nose bleed” section of the Sachin Tendulkar Stand, away from the comfort of the “hospitality suites” – these are at the 4th and highest level of the stadium – no, these are not bad seats, in fact you can see the ball clearly all the time from here. But more importantly, this is where INDIA sits – this is where you can truly sense what cricket and the game’s God means to India. The cheering is unabated, and like I said before, it did not matter if the “play in the game” did not involve Sachin, all these people wanted to chant was “SACHIN SACHIN…” – this was an experience that made my knees go weak, made me get goose bumps and feel very, very small! And all these years, I thought I was Sachin’s #1 fan! What an eye opener!
I know that all my friends and family in all parts of the world have had their special moment with Sachin in the last few days, but I needed to get this one out… lots more to say but I will not find the words, but will end with a little poem that the little Master pulled out from me:

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