Tuesday, December 18, 2012

That Sinking Feeling


Goodbye, Sachin. No, really. Goodbye.

At 25, it is tough to get anyone to believe it when I say that I am just getting out of a 20 year relationship. But then, at 40, it must be even tougher for you to cast away the adoring millions and walk into the sunset. You will will yourself on for a series or two for your pride, for our joy and for the team. You will score another masterful hundred and get bowled a few more times. But I will not be around to see that. To use that dreaded phrase – “you have been dumped”.  

The fact of the matter is that most of us are selfish beings. We were more than happy to say that you were our biggest love, our life and such nice things for a good part of 2 decades  - when you were in your prime. Now that you no longer look that good at the crease, now that you are scratching around more often than not, now that there is younger, fresh blood to get excited about, now that you are 40 and we are just  25 or 30, we are ready to move on. We will check back on you once in a while to be sure that you are doing okay. But we will be long gone by the time you let go of us. Like I said, we are selfish.

Who am I kidding?

We will be there every single day, because in your struggle, you prove yourself to be as human as us. For over 2 decades you were somebody we could only dream of. Now you have descended from that glorious platform that you had built for yourself and are now closer to the end, closer to being us. Did I say we will move on? Nonsense. You will move on- to your loving family, to the commentator’s box, to the Parliament and many high places. Us? We will be watching videos of you cover driving Donald, sending one right back at McGrath, tonking Warne over mid-wicket, cutting Ambrose, flicking Wasim, bamboozling Moin with your googly or juggling your way to yet another catch at slip.  

The many 20 somethings like me secretly wish that you will be able to play on forever, because we do not know what life is without your batting to look forward to. If we came back with a bad score in our exams, and you scored a century that day, you not only took away a bit of sadness from us, but also a bit of our dad’s anger.  That you made our world a happier place is not to be denied.

However, we are pained to see you struggle. We are forced to look away when you grope outside off stump to a second rung bowler or get bowled to deliveries you would have whipped past the leg umpire for a boundary a couple of years back.We don’t like it as it makes us feel vulnerable. To know that a legend like you could be reduced to a struggle like this makes us doubt what we will make of ourselves at 40. We want you to go now because we want to retain only the happy memories. Like I said, we are selfish.

I plead guilty to arguing that Dravid was a better Test match player than you or that Lara was more of a match winner. But in hindsight, those titles and arguments seem a little too trifle in the bigger picture. When Lara was run out in his last match, we stood up in our drawing rooms to applaud even though he was thousands of miles away. Dravid did not even give us that chance. When he announced his retirement, we were left shocked and speechless. But you? When you say your final goodbye, we will be shedding tears – in schools in Chennai, in offices in Delhi, in the markets of New York, in the clubs in Sydney and the bylanes of Mumbai. Because when we said you were our biggest love, our life - we meant it.

P.S : This is the second consecutive post on cricket and relationships. I realize that I might be having really bad break up blues. 

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