GOD Luck!

It all started in 1998, I was 12 then – My cricket fanatic father was watching a cricket match on TV, Sharjah Cup it was, India Vs, Australia. There were some regular interferences, and my father told me to adjust and hold the antenna in the north-west direction for around 20 minutes, A short man with his unruly curly hair was adjusting his helmet and a Kathak stance followed. “Jaldi kar Sachin ki half century nikal jayegi” (Be quick, or I’ll miss Sachin’s half century. While on the stairs to the antenna-studded roof, I thought who’s this Sachin, and why is his half century so important!

My father shouted “Come-on down, the signals are fine now”! There I was, watching cricket EAGERLY for the first time, a straight drive to Jason Gillespie, a back-foot punch to Tom Moody, a nightmarish straight slog to the Warne and the commentators reiterating “What a player, what a wonderful player”.

I now knew, who that man was and why his innings was so important!

He’s been a habit since, from newspaper cuttings in school registers, to the wallpaper with his cover drive captured, and the trump cards where I would yearn for the “Master Card”! I’ve known Cricket to be Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, not a fraction more or less.

But this habit has changed now, my idol, my motivation – SIR Sachin Tendulkar has retired from cricket, and so have i!

I have been a die-hard Sachin Tendulkar fan, but never really got a chance to see him batting live, in a stadium. To be frank, I was never keen on that, as I had a notion that the TV cameras and different hawk eye views are simply the best way to indulge in his divine strokeplay.

When I heard the dreaded news of his retirement, I felt like a part of my soul has been stripped off! I kept sulking on my way to office, not sure what to do! A couple of days later, BCCI announced his final two tests (199th and the 200th) at Kolkata and Mumbai.

This very moment it was decided, come what may but I am going to see the cricketing GOD live at least once before his willow rests!

I aimed for Mumbai, but things didn’t looked good with only a few thousand tickets for the millions of Sachin worshippers. I called every soul I knew, tried every possible or impossible options that might work. The first test already in progress, 2nd day, 1st session – Not for Mumbai, but the ticket for Kolkata was in my hands, elation is just too small a feeling to match my emotions.

INDIA VS WEST INDIES  – Test Match, Day 4 it read. I somehow managed my travel tickets, got my leaves sanctioned! It was hectic, but awesome…

Kolkata Ticket

Kolkata Ticket

Until West Indies ruined my party with a 3rd day fallout!

I didn’t know how to react, Mumbai seemed to be like a vacation on the Mars, and like a common man, a bicycle was all I ever had.

A couple of days later, BCCI announced that the tickets will be sold online at www.kyazoonga.com, and only 3500 is available for the general public. It was like aiming at a grain of sand amidst a vast sea, a chance of 0.0000001%.

But I was determined, especially after the Kolkata fiasco, it was now or never!

The ticket sale started at 11.00 am and at 11.05 am, the website crashed, a sea of traffic in a mug – it tumbled and blasted. I tried refreshing the whole day, asked a couple of friends to keep trying, the webpage were continuously refreshed on the mobile phone – but nothing happened!

  • At 9 pm the first page opened, but it never went past the 2nd page.
  • 11.30 pm, I finally got to the transaction page – and it crashed
  • 1.15 am, for the second time it crashed on the transaction page
  • 4.30 am, again the transaction page, a prayer on my lips, and Bingo! There was it, TRANSACTION SUCCESSFUL!!

I thought it can’t be real… hard to believe what my eyes told me – I got a confirmation email and an SMS! It was destined to be Mumbai – the 200th test match. Two tickets, one for me and one for Aniruddha, my brother! (Yeah, I got two:D)

Mumbai Tickets

Mumbai Ticket

Before 4.30 that morning I didn’t sleep because I had no tickets, after 4.30 my eyes never blinked – Impossible – is that what I said?

Very special thanks to Mona here, for making voracious efforts and supporting me endlessly.

A tatkal ticket and I was in the train, 3.40 pm from Nizamuddin station, Wednesday, the 13th. I grabbed my seat – Mumbai for the first time in my life!

As time progressed, I got to know that half of the compartment, was going for the ultimate cricket match. People played videos of Sachin Tendulkar’s innings, Pakistan 1992, Perth Test, CB Series, Sandstorm Sharjah innings, 100th century, 200 not out – and what not!

It was like when we go to a pilgrimage, everybody sings the same lyrics, dances to the same tune, and nurtures similar emotions in their heart! Instead of bhajans, there were videos here – and the God was Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

7.15 am I reached Borivali, and 8.15 am at my friend’s place in Goregaon. Aniruudha and I all settled for the first day, my first local to the Churchgate station. 10.30 am we were in the stadium, and that very moment I knew how it was to watch a match LIVE!

And there was the master – at the point towards Garware Pavillion, a hat over those unruly curly hair. I could breathe, I could feel the magnificent atmosphere – Chants of Sachin…Sachin… so loud yet so soothing! The stadium roared when the ball came to master, or when he moved around the field, or when he was near any of the stands – Pilgrimage, oh yes!

Sachin...Sachin...

Sachin…Sachin…

It didn’t really matter who was bowling, what was the score – Mexican waves and Sachinism ruled the stadium. I saw many empty seats when the West Indies were batting; I wondered why?

West Indies were bundled out after lunch, and the Indian openers were out in the middle. What I witnessed was bizarre, the crowd was cheering the West Indian bowlers to take the wickets, and the umpires were booed for not giving the batsmen out.

I got my answer! Here came the moment – two successive wickets, and suddenly the stadium was jam-packed – even air wasn’t allowed to pass through!

There he came, the master, on the field for the final time, the crowd dancing… Sachin…Sachin… echoed, and everybody up on their toes. I cannot recall even a moment when the maestro was batting, and people were on their seats – young, old: it never mattered.

A crisp cover drive, and Aniruddha went berserk, a buttered straight drive and I went mad! Tendulkar looked in his prime and the crowd was bonkers. Looking at the jeers and cheers, we were wondering – how can somebody concentrate here?

IMAG1363_1

But his name is Sachin Tendulkar, focus and determination were named after him! He was looking confident, relaxed, and quintessential! 38 not out was his score on the first day!

On the journey back home, Aniruddha and I were discussing, how the master will be feeling on this day! He has given 24 years to international cricket, and suddenly everything will be gone!

It was hard to get into the stadium on the second day, a stretched queue ensured we reached 30 minutes after the day’s start, sulking that we would miss Master’s half-century – our blood pressure reached the Tsunami level.

However, luck was too generous, the moment we reached inside the stadium – a straight drive rushed from the master’s willow, and there was his half-century.

It was destined; GOD LUCK was on our side. The stadium erupted! He waved his bat, I felt he waved at me, and I waved back!

Legends never retire!

Legends never retire!

Tendulkar was at 74, facing Shillingford – and there was a dead silence in the stadium. Sammy took the catch, but did not dare celebrate. The end of maestro’s last innings, the stadium stood up, the breeze halted, and the sun motionless– the time stopped. The master went back to the dressing room – a vacuum felt, shivers in the heart!

The match ended within the first half of the third day! The presentation ceremony commenced, and what followed was the most spectacular and heart-warming speech in the sports history.

The god of cricket, humbled the world with his gratitude for almost everybody – His family, friends, sponsors, media, fans! Men are strong they say, but this very day, I saw 90% of the men heads down with tears rolling down, too overwhelmed to speak!

Some people held themselves back from crying – including me! Then came The Sachin Tendulkar, all alone, touched the ground, smearing his forehead. My eyes were moist this time – I could not stop!

Sachin retires from cricket and so have I, determined to meet the Master once!

I know this is a very long post, but I could not help share my innate feelings! Here’s a poem for the master!

And yes for the last time it is Sachin…Sachiiinnn!

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(Sa)n(ch)ur(i)a(n)

Bow your heads low
And stir your souls high
Beneath that cranium,
And above all the repercussions
Is a human, a superhuman…

For centuries may come,
And they may fall like rain
But never will you fathom this genius again

You call him a master, do you
You call him a blaster, do you
You call him a miracle
and a thunder, and a fire do you

A demon to the bowler down the wicket he is
A god in this cricket frenzy nation he is
The hope of a thousands of millions disciple
And the agony of a few disheartened atheists he is

He’s faced the torpedoes and the fireballs
And the swingers and the yorkers
He’s smashed them, he’s thrashed them
He’s sent them to the Pluto
and the Mars and the Saturn

He’s an era himself,
In this gentleman’s game
For thou shall ne’er see, this humility
In such extravagance of fame

May we keep alive Sachinism,
a proud Sachinist I am
I’ve seen the Master play,
That’s how lucky I am!

P.S: This poem is dedicated to Sachin’s 100th century. Special thanks to my friend Abhishek Nagaraja who motivated me to write this. 🙂

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(S)ach(I)n (R)amesh Tendulkar

“Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives.” – BBC Sports

SIR

At 14, he was a ball boy for the India versus Zimbabwe game during the 1987 World Cup. Around 24 years and 5 world cups later, he is the poster boy of International Cricket!

The subdued 16-year-old boy facing the most ferocious bowlers is now one of the most “Respected” and  “Feared” batsman in the history of world cricket!

Sachin- "Now and then"

Such is his stature that he has been adduced as the “God of Cricket”! Words are sporadic, and sentences too scanty, to define our very own “Little Master”.

The “Tendulkar” can stop time in India, his nervous nineties symbolize an apprehension across the nation. There’s a nerve-wrecking silence, and everything stands still! Eyes glued to the TV sets, and lips synchronizing a pledge to the “Respective Gods“!

The anticipation bypasses any  caste, creed and color, only one religion prevails “Sachinism”! A century at this moment, reinvents the “Proud Indian” with heads soaring high. He’s not just a Cricketer, he’s the dream of a common man! He is what “hope” means to us, and cricket means to me.

This post is dedicated to SIR Sachin’s “World Cup Dream”

I bow to the mastery of this legend, and his superb run in the world cup 2011! I won’t be doing any scratchoscopic analysis, as being a mere mortal i don’t have the right to!

The Flashback!

1998-thunderstorm innings

I started watching cricket when I first saw “Sachin” bat! It’s almost 13 years now, I watch the game “ONLY and ONLY” when the “Master Blaster” is at the crease! It was 1998 Sharjah Cup, India V/S Australia, I still remember how “Tendulkar” bundled the aussies with his fluent “Lofted” sixes of Kasprowicz, Gillespie, Warne, and the likes. He literally smothered the Australian attack to the dismal corners, cajoling India to the emphatic “Qualifiers”!

They say “history repeats itself”! And the one special innings in World Cup quarterfinals from the “Little Master” sent Kangaroos back in their pouch yet again! 😀

The rise of a Phoenix – Lyrically

Tendulkar’s exploits are phenomenal, he’s faced the lethal swingers of Wasim-Waqar, the rippers of Pollock-McGrath, the fireballs of Lee-Akhtar, and the spiralling torpedoes of Warne-Murali with an unbiased and imbibed ease.

His supernova form in the 90’s was just euphoric, and it returns to haunt the bowlers whenever critics pull up their socks against the “Run Machine”. The atheists get their answers when the lethal willow attunes the song of “Leather meets The Heavy Wood”.

To the Bowler:

He’ll walk through the pitch
and send it out of the stadium…

When Leather meets heavy wood

He’ll pull across that heavy bat
and dismantle your poise…

He’ll stand and deliver
the echelons of swashbucklers…

The fielders are gonna run,
In a merry-go-round

And the pitch turns
Into a battleground

Everything’s gonna fall apart,
And the crowd will go berserk

“When Leather meets The Heavy Wood”

P.S – These lyrics are my cherished possession, please DO NOT COPY 🙂


The finesse of a Literary

His stroke play symbolize literature! A mixture of silkened stanza cover drive, a whispering dialect of back foot punch, the colloquial paddle sweep, the synecdoche of a straight drive, and the catharsis of a belligerent pull. He adorns the climaxotic late cut, the hyperbole of a lofted shot, and the euphemism of the upper cut!

I am a writer, can’t help it! 😀

Upper Cut

Paddle sweep

Back foot Punch

Straight Drive

The Humanitarian

A gentleman that he is, “Tendulkar” sponsors 200 underprivileged children every year through Apnalaya, a Mumbai-based NGO associated with his mother-in-law, Annabel Mehta. A request from Sachin on twitter raised 10.25 million through his crusade against cancer for a Cancer foundation. (Source: Wikipedia)

The humanitarian

The Superman

With a stature that he enjoys in the cricket crazy nation, humility is almost impossible.  But that’s what makes this man so special, Impossible ain’t a word for him! He’s been playing for more than two decades now, and has been a true cavalier throughout. Controversies are a rare artifact in his unbelievably long career.

The Superman

I won’t talk about his records, for that’s what every Indian boasts of! 😀 Again I am falling short of words, so I’ll borrow Navjot Singh Sidhu’s ,“Hindustan mein aap Prime Minister pe ungli utha sakte ho, lekin Sachin Tendukar pe nahin” (In India you can question a Prime Minister, but not Sachin Tendulkar) 🙂

A Magnum Opus!

With the ballpark figure of almost every single Indian dedicating this world cup to “SRT”, fellow teammates were equally ecstatic to devote this memorabilia.

If only i was able to express how i felt when “Sachin” was riding on the team chariot through the Wankhede Stadium, with hazy and moist eyes!

I can still fortify the exuberance of a “Little Boy” cuddling his dream, with those jeweled eyes. I could sense those romantic vibes surrounding a young romeo saying “Hey Sweety, you took a long time, but you’re finally mine!!” 😀

The Romeo

The Little Boy

An Ode to the  Master!

This may be his “last World Cup”, or maybe NOT 🙂 ( i want SIR “Sachin” to enlighten our souls forever!) Critics and pessimists may argue over his supremacy, but there’s one thing i am pretty sure of “There is only one SACHIN, and will always be”!

Godliness

“People say they saw Christ walk water…People say they saw Gandhiji win us freedom…People say they walked alongside Buddha ‘The Enlightened One’. I will always say ~~ I SAW SACHIN BAT ~~” 🙂

Yes, we are the world Champs! And i am a very proud Indian and an immensely dignified Sachinist! 🙂

SACHIN……SACHIN!!!!

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