Sachin Tendulkar’s impact on the masses transcended generations

Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell was an emotional affair. His speech moved the crowds and would be remembered for a long time © PTI

By Nipun Dixit

The moment the last West Indian wicket fell at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, something snapped within all of us who have known cricket only because of one man; something that cannot be described in mere words; something that’s so elemental yet unknown; something that breeds emotions and makes us human.

How can one sit on the top of the ladder and yet have his feet on the ground? The last speech was as gut-wrenching as the thought that he will play no more for the country. The 20-minute speech summed up the man and why people revere him — not merely as a cricketer.

Do we remember the people who made us who we are? There are many who have touched our lives, sometime in a manner that shaped it forever. But we are so obsessed with ourselves that we forget what we are as a result of what we had. We fail to take a moment to reflect back.

Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell speech had lessons in life for each one of us.  It’s important we look up and learn from what he said.

I thought I knew almost everything about the man, but then he surprised me. When he remembered his aunt with whom he stayed for four years in his formative days, when he talked about family, when he talked about his in-laws, when he was grateful to the media and to the photographers; it was a lesson to the world that if you are not humble, you cannot truly achieve anything in life, leave alone greatness.

He said 24 years is a long time to keep supporting one guy, yes it is but we never realised it. It came from our hearts because of the pure joy of growing up watching him conquer seemingly impossible situations. It made us stand by him forever. 

When he said cricketers are stewards of the game, not just superstars, and that they need to play the game in the right spirit to the best of their ability, it shuts all discussions of when he will speak about the controversies surrounding match-fixing. He said it all in one line. Our lives have become richer just to hear him speak his heart out.

While he emphasised the importance of family, the camera panned across the stands where we not only saw youngsters in a trance but even elderly people with moist eyes. Such has been his impact that it has transcended generations, something unheard of especially in sports.

As chants of “Sachin, Sachin” reached a crescendo and with a quivering voice bid goodbye, the mind couldn’t register the events; the heart was just busy beating too fast, and the eyes were too moist to realise that a strange hollow would now be with us till our death. Yes, we might tell our children and grandchildren we were a part of history, we lived it with Sachin Tendulkar, but we would never be able to tell them why we did what we did. Why we compare a mortal to God. Why we cried when he left the pitch with tears in his eyes. I think history, and especially this part, cannot be explained in books and articles. It could only have been felt and lived. And that’s why it will die with us; it cannot be passed along.

Apt lines from the Rudyard Kipling poem…

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Thank you Sachin for giving us moments that made our lives prosperous. We strive to be better human beings in our lives just by looking at you. Thank you!

(Nipun Dixit is a Technology Analyst at Infosys, currently based in US. A Mechanical Engineer from Jaipur, Nipun is very passionate about cricket and music. He loves playing the acoustic guitar and writing songs. Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler are his favorites. He is a voracious reader across wide variety of subjects and writes occasionally on various subjects. Cricket, however, remains his first love)