“Sachin…….Sachin will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing.”
As he walked out to bat, the roar from the capacity crowd in Mumbai was unbelievable – they screamed with one united voice of India – to greet the Little Master on his final day. He acquitted himself well – playing a good innings of 74 runs and displaying some of his most magnificent shots, to the 1.2 billion Indians watching their idol for the last time. When he walked off the pitch, the applause were unimaginable, and the tears were on every face.
Tendulkar was more than just a hundred hundreds – he was a symbol, a face to the force that unites India, a god to the religion that drives India. He’s become the first ever sports-person to receive, and youngest recipient ever, of the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civillian award. Anywhere in India – from large metros to tiny villages – cricket is the one constant, the one binder in such a diverse country. And in a nation obsessed with idol worship – he is the one idol that the nation bows down to – a hero in every sense of the word. There is only so much I can say – on something so emotional for every single Indian – but the images from from his final speech at the Wankhede stadium are worth a mention.
His speech was wonderful – please watch it – and the crowd, too, was magnificent. An hour gone since the match finished – no one in the crowd has moved an inch – listening to him with rapt attention, waiting for his victory lap. My favourite moment was when the humble man apologized, saying “….I know my speech is getting a bit too long, but…”, and the crowd responded with an almighty “NOOOOOOOOOOOO”. Who else in this world can have that kind of an effect on people?
Photo Credits: Pulkitsinha/Flickr
References: starsports.com, Firstpost