Monday, November 09, 2009

The Tendulkar Generation

























Growing up is never easy. The pace and inescapability of the whole process is perhaps the toughest part. A moment ago, there we stood - out of sepia, and stepping into technicolor. On the bus to school, hoping that the earth opens up and swallows everything before that Math exam. And here we are now. Logged on to Picasa, married to college sweethearts, surrounded by new friends, and trying to hold on to the colors of the time we left behind. Desperately trying to hold on to memories.


Enter Sachin Tendulkar. The canvas which never changed.

The constant.

Boy, Genius, Savior, Super Human, God. The bridge spanning a generation’s evolution from the late nineties to a new century. The unstoppable time machine, the delightful album which keeps adding new pages. We could as well be still adjusting rickety antennas to get that elusive Doordarshan signal instead of browsing through this fancy DTH menu.

Last week, as Sachin Tendulkar reached another milestone and almost slayed the Aussies single handed, I experienced something remarkable happening everywhere around me. Out on the streets, in brightly lit drawing rooms, and in hundreds of run-down dormitories across India – a lost generation switched T.V sets on once again as word of the Tendulkar magic spread. A nation was in love again.

For some of my younger friends it is difficult to imagine the Tendulkar obsession in the days of ‘match winners’, ‘finishers’, ‘fearless young guns’, and ‘dime a dozen big hitters’.

India after all, is the ‘I’ in BRIC, we are recession proof, and we as a nation are learning to take on bullies at different forums.

Things were different back then. We were honest, yet we were bankrupt. We worked hard at getting noticed, but the only global we got was Madonna putting on Mehendi.

Enter this young man with a twinkle in his eyes. Small even by Indian standards, naturally gifted even by Indian standards. Unassuming, not realizing that as his blade dispatched magic balls hurled with guile and speeds not imaginable today - he punched away the blues of a nation in transition. And he did it again and again. Perth, Sharjah, Mumbai, Centurion, and Lords became theaters to the Tendulkar show. Bullies were packed off; and brilliant men drafted to plot his downfall finished. A Tendulkar dismissal meant mothers reluctantly dragging themselves to the kitchen, fathers glaring at children and unfinished homework, and kids scurrying away to their rooms to stare at the Sportstar Tendulkar poster.

Dear Youngistan, Tendulkar was our evening. Tendulkar was the good news in the newspaper in the morning. He was the guy who returned from his father’s funeral, to stand up for India. To live our dream. To live it forever with humility and grace.

And as newspapers changed, editors retired and mere stars were twenty twentized to iconic status, an old man with the heart of a young curly prankster kept on churning those big scores out. As gawky teenagers changed to executives, Tendulkar changed gears too. The Ferrari became the Rolls, the Rolls that had not forgotten to take flight.

And as blasphemous as this may sound, many of us did not give a damn about the result that day in Hyderabad. We sat transfixed in front of the Television screens as Tendulkar went on and on. The match was only coincidental. Sure, tears escaped our eyes as a needless run out stopped the Indian juggernaut, but most of us cried for Sachin. And what must be going on his mind. Do the ghosts of Chennai still haunt him?

And if I can let you on a secret, all of us knew India would lose when Tendulkar got out. It had happened to us a million times in the past, when all that stood between an improbably victory and defeat was the little guy in the Boost commercial. Cricket was so much simpler then. Eight International Teams versus Sachin Tendulkar.

Of course, the cynics always question Tendulkar’s ability to finish the job. This is unfair. For starters, Tendulkar has won more matches for his team than anyone else in the world. In one day internationals, Tendulkar has been an opener for more than 15 years, and to expect him to carry his bat through the innings is like asking a guide to take you on top of Everest, and drop you back home to Chandni Chowk as well.

And most importantly, oppositions want Tendulkar out. That is the simple truth. A bull with a big red target slung across his jersey, surrounded with young stallions who often slip under the opposition radar to do their bit. Indian opponents dedicate exclusive team meetings and space on their Macs to find kinks in the Tendulkar armor. Young new bowlers, who have grown up watching Sachin beat the stuffing out of their illustrious seniors start their run up realizing that to get a Tendulkar would be as big an achievement as perhaps playing international cricket. What a story back home on the streets of Durban! Remembered young Phil? He got Sachin Tendulkar out!

Now, as a new generation searches for new Tendulkars, an entire era hangs on to every Tendulkar moment to stay in touch with who they were, and where they came from. The critics have come and gone, and life changes every moment, but surely – Sachin Tendulkar is the immortality in our lives?





42 comments:

yogesh said...

Madonna putting on Mehendi. HA HA

Kedar Patankar said...

Brilliant.. this is too good :-) Thanks

nightflier said...

Salaam!!

and thanks :)

Farina said...

Seems like u r a Die-Hard Tendulkar fan...Nice Write up anyway :)

Addu said...

Not words left to describe the feeling I get on reading this....Just get the WC back to India in 2011, that my only prayer to the GOD (read Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar)

Ketaki... said...

Kudos Man.. Its an article to be shoved under the nose of every Sachin critic.

Gaurav Parab said...

@ Ketan, Nightflier, Farina, Addu and Ketaki

Thanks a ton. Of the very few things that I get worked up about, Tendulkar is right at the top.

Tendulkar was, is and will remain a true national treasure.

Anonymous said...

The mention of "GOD" in the context of Sachin brought back my Infy memories of days spent following the Sports-BB without a blink

Maverick said...

Really Awesum....
HE is the one reason ppl forget their work, put everything on hold and sit mesmerized in front of their TV sets or laptops.... really a National Treasure indeed....

Gaurav Parab said...

@ Anon

Yes,Infy Sports BB was really something.

Jatin said...

Awesome :)

kavita said...

you write well....and who you have written about is even better....not for india, not for one less than the one billion indians....i hope we do win the 2011 world cup for sachin;s ssake...after all that he has done for us the least that the other 10 men in blue can do for him....

Anonymous said...

Awesome!!!!

Priyanka Khot said...

Not a cricket fan myself, but can relate to Sachin being our evenings and the good news in the morning newspaper. Cricket and Sachin are synonyms.

Prasad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prasad said...

Thank you for writing this and making me feel the way I did on reading this. Everything is just so true.

Rahul said...

Loved all the nostalgia.. great post!

Gaurav Parab said...

@ Maverick and Jatin: Thanks a lot for visiting.

@ Kavita: Absolutely right. I hope we win it for Sachin. The mind goes back to 2003, when he took the team to the finals and an uninspired bowling performance let us down.

@ Anon: Thanks

@ Priyanka: Absolutely. There was a time, when he was the only news!

@ Prasad and Rahul: Thanks guys. Do keep visiting.

Neha said...

That was quite refreshing and felt like words were describing our old home and neighbourhood, instant connect. Thanks for being poetic and triggering nostalgia. Though, I'd like to think calling it a Tendulkar generation was a tad unfair to the emotional connect with everything else..but I liked it, and have become a follower! Keep Posting!

Vinamra said...

Beautiful piece of narrative Gaurav, left me spellbind and nostalgic to the bygone Tendulkar Era when our day started and ended with him.
Thanks for reminding us of our good times and the KING OF GOOD TIMES!

Anir.. said...

dats very well.. sachin will always be memorable.. He has a journey with us for almost 2 decads. I used to play a bit of cricket in my young days, though I am not very old now, my coach used to say about Sachin's dedication, how he used to practice in the nets, his technique, efficient in all directions, I love his coverdrives, square cuts and the straight drives along the ground. He has set the milestone of more than 17K runs with his straight bat highly technical game. we were always advised to play with straight bat.
Aila .... Sachin was the nightmare of Shane Warne. Be it fast, be it slow, be it of - break, be it leg break, Sachin was there to handle all googlies....
A great national hero I believe endlessly serving Republic of India from the tender age of 16 till date..... I wish to see more and more performances from Sachin..

srikar said...

nicely written!
But give credit and encouragement to other players also, they can at least become partial tendulkars!!

shruti said...

thanks for taking me down memory lane...the feeling was indescribable.....

The People's Champ said...

Sachinnnnnnnn ...Sachinnnn ... Sachinnnn ... Sachinnnn!!!!

Lokii said...

Excellent! Been reading every article on the net about Sachin and his coming 20th anniversary.. and this one takes the cake so far!

Gaurav Parab said...

@ Neha! Thanks a ton for commenting and following. Really look forward to you drifting in again.

@ Vinamra: You are too kind.

@ Anir: Absolutely, the Tendulkar era should not end.

@ Srikar: you are right. But I still think Tendulkar is a once in a lifetime player.

@ Shruti: Thanks

@ Peoples Champ: Love your enthusiasm

@ Lokki: :) One of the nicest comments i have received. Thanks a ton buddy. Keep drifting back

Anindya said...

Awesome man .....awesome post !!

Anonymous said...

Two things really make this the BEST article on Sachin that I have ever read:

1. There are no references to the numbers he has amassed in the last 20 years, no statistics for the no. of matches won by India when he had salad for breakfast, opened the innings, listened to dire straits during lunch, etc. It's simple, appeals to every cricket fan and basically hits the nail on the head better than the zillion articles that are published on Tendulkar everyday without any stats.
Secondly, this article perfectly reflects the way we grew up watching Sachin play!!

And just to add to the "Madonna putting on Mehendi" reference, I remember reading an article by Harsha Bhogle and where he said that Tendulkar is a lot more than just a cricketer. In the economic uncertainties of the 90s,when India was still looking to find a respectable position in the world affairs, there weren't corporate honchos making big money, Tendulkar gave every Indian a sense of self-belief and pride. He pretty much carried India (and not just the Indian team) for several years.

Thanks for the wonderful post!

Anonymous said...

Thanks from a person madly in love with Sachin. He has been our hope and I hope all the wishes posted here fr the win at 2011 come true. I want him to get the best after what he has done to billions of us. Gave us someone to relate to as a hard working Indian.

Manjusha said...

lol 'kids scurrying away to their rooms to stare at the Sportstar Tendulkar poster' that brought back memories, Gaurav! In sepia! :D

It broke my heart every time he got out at ninty-something and looked skywards.

BTW, I wonder about the same thing every now and then, 'does chennai haunt him?'

Gaurav Parab said...

@ Anonymous 1, and 2.

Longest comments, and no name. I can only hope you are two hot women.:)


@ Manjusha

Totally. I still have an old Alan Donald sports star poster somewhere which says "White Lightening"

I hate the new Sportstar format though.

Phani- A Sports Freak said...

" Cricket was so much simpler then. Eight International Teams versus Sachin Tendulkar."

I loved this.... how did i not read this till now... :P :P :P :P... I read 13 news papers in different languages but didn't read one of the best articles written till now.. ;) ;)

Hafiz said...

"kids scurrying away to their rooms to stare at the Sportstar Tendulkar poster"

"Tendulkar was our evening. Tendulkar was the good news in the newspaper in the morning"

dude i dunno who you are...sort of stumbled upon ur blog. but this post is a gem...brings back so many memories. and i agree with you on the new sportstar...still have a collection of those wonderful posters

Aniket said...

Infy Sports BB is poorer without u man...I still have this and also 'Leave the genius alone' in my archives and post it whenever there is usual fight. :)

SOWMYA said...

Salute.

Niketa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Niketa said...

Fantastic stuff!!Nobody could have put it better!

subhodeep said...

Awesome post. One GOD has ever walked on our dear planet. He carries a bat.

Kanan..!! said...

thata an awesome post!

Jeet said...

Thank you for writing this..born in 83 and I know cricket cuz of tendulkar...
tc

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written.. hats off...
't seems dat dis will never fade, Sachin can never lose!!!

A Tribute....

Payal said...

Even reading about him touches my heart as much as watching him play!
At the end of this article I felt of reading more and more.
Its a God's magic that will drive you to some other world.
Thanks for sharing this awesome writeup!!