Sachin Tendulkar's touching farewell: Seldom has a nation unified in an emotion this universal

Sachin Tendulkar walks back amidst a mobile guard of honour by teammates © IANS

There are some moments which would be etched in one’s memory forever. One such moment was when India’s Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar touched the 22-yard strip on which he enthralled the audience with his glorious artwork of batsmanship for one final time. The show of gratitude brought a whale of emotions among fans. Everyone wept, clapped and smiled at the same time, as the legend walked into the sunset of his career. Abhishek Mukherjee recalls the maestro’s final gesture that made a nation cry.

They announced the names. The Man of the Match and the Series; they also gave Sachin Tendulkar something that looked like a memento of some sort, and a lot of other things. Then Ravi Shastri handed the microphone over to him.
 
The speech was long and poignant, and as everybody had expected, ended with the chants of “Sa-chiiiiiin, Saa-chin.” His team had already given him a mobile guard of honour. Now they took turns to carry him on their shoulders. They were, after all, his family over a quarter of a century when he was away from his home.
 
Then he walked towards the pitch for one final time. No helmet. No willow. Just the man. It had been a love affair like none other. Who would have known him more than that strip of 22 yards?
 
It was time to let go, finally; but he wanted to touch the strip that had given him so much for this one final time. He had to. That is something all relationships deserve — that final parting touch.
 
Then the floodgates opened… at Wankhede, in malls, in front of electronics goods stores, men who had developed inexplicable stomach bugs for the last three days, entire villages huddled in front of solitary television sets, they had all been holding it back till now.
 
Even during the speech. Even during the lap. Boys don’t cry. We’re not emotional. It’s only a sport. He’s just a name. His time was over. He’s not bigger than the sport. It’s all a media hype. And all that. We all need excuses to hold back our emotions, don’t we?
 
The final gesture broke the barrier. Some tears were hidden, some were not; but we all wept.
 
There are some moments that make one cry out loud — to yell at people — to take drastic measures. Some others are too gut-wrenching for tears; they simply leave you scars so deep that one often cannot overcome them in entire lifetimes.
 
This was different. This was one of those moments where you smile, weep, and clap at the same time. The simple gesture of touching the pitch for that one final time showed that the illustrious career could not take the man away from him.
 
Seldom has a nation unified in an emotion this universal. But then, we have all grown up with him, and seldom have we seen anyone serve the nation so honestly for this long a period.
 
The man, after all, was about honesty.
 
Sach.

Read Sachin Tendulkar’s emotional farewell speech here
 
(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)