Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Greatest Gift

Do you remember that straight drive Sachin hit three years ago, a bewildered Lee looking in awe, the ball smashing into the advertising boards, all the while Sachin retaining that pose of artistic perfection? I watched that shot thousands of miles away at Jester auditorium in Austin, bowing down to the projector screen, asking for more. Yesterday, I saw Sachin hit a straight drive for four at Wankhede. There are many older than me who claim that the birth of their first child is the greatest moment of their lives. They have probably not been 100 meters away from a Sachin Tendulkar straight drive for four.

When Sachin walked back, caught behind off of ferocious, deadly Malinga, I sat quietly for a bit with my face buried in the flag I was waving around just a minute ago. Had I just seen his last one day inning? I slowly rose to my feet and applauded, and so did the rest of Wankhede. He said a couple of words to the incoming Virat Kohli before continuing his walk into the pavilion. Virat Kohli carried Sachin Tendulkar on his shoulders later that night, “well, he’s carried the burden of a nation for 21 years, it’s time we carried him on our shoulders”, he said. Last night was poetry in action.

There are these fleeting images – Yuvraj, Kohli, Raina egging each other on, Harbhajan dismissing Umar Akmal and shaking his head in wild, unbridled joy, Yuvraj roaring into the night after vanquishing Australia, Zaheer yelling, “Come on!” after breaking up a partnership with smarts rather than speed , Dhoni’s calm smile after hitting Kulasekara for a world cup winning six. These images will live with me forever.

This Indian team, these men in blue, looked to the accomplishments of Sachin Tendulkar to motivate them, to see pressure in the eye and use that as a catalyst for greatness. This Indian team has conspired to win the cricket world cup, to provide Sachin a joy that had eluded him for far too long. But when you look past the trophy, you realize that they’ve shown the little master that they can win without him. And that to Sachin should be the greatest gift of them all.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Niyantha, the last two lines are brilliant! This is exactly what this World Cup victory was all about.
As you give, so shall you receive. The Indian team won this World Cup for Sachin and in turn received unbounded joy and happiness. We Indians supported them whole heartedly in their endevaour and the happiness that we shared yesterday will linger in our minds forever.
Excellent article born out of an excellent experience!
Amas

SG said...

Niyantha,

Caught a glimpse of you waving the Indian flag while watching the monumental game!!

The past few games that India played were absolutely the greatest and will cherish the same for a long time!

In all the excitement, I am succumbing to the temptation of reading all the crap. I must say that your perspective is the best that I have come across.

Keep it up!!

Love
Balaji

Nandini Vishwanath said...

Like someone else said here, the last two lines say everything to us as a nation. The sight of Sachin letting go and chugging champagne brought tears to my eyes. It was as if his mission was accomplished. As if he could finally let go all of us and our wild aspirations for him.

I haven't been prouder of anything else in my life time than this as an Indian :) Great post. I loved that Wankhede applauded the man as he got out and walked.

Mohit J said...

mate please call me once you have a spare moment when you get back. as usual, well written, but that comes with the territory when you write.

aparna said...

loved this post niyantha. Will talk to you at work to get more details. You will be a minor celebrity here :)

Anonymous said...

Good post. If you remember Wills 1996 clearly, you know that it was a bitter match for us to watch, Sachin was the only batsman to perform and we got knockout because of controversial decisions. For Sachin to lift the cup 15 years later beating the same team who knock us out in Will 96, it was tears and joy for all cricket fans out there.

Abdul

Anonymous said...

Nice!!! When we saw Sachin being carried, we thought of how you would be Cloud 9000!!! I am so happy you got to witness such a monumental moment live!
-Devi

Anonymous said...

P.S. Very nice perspective you concluded with. I had never thought of it that way.
-Devi

Sparsh Agarwal said...

Very nicely written Niyantha. You are brilliant indeed.

Komal said...

What a beautiful thought - and how empowering for the Indian team to know that they can win even without God playing on their side.

@Abdul - can't forget Eden Garden - because so much has changed since then - i was looking through some old photos http://on.fb.me/h0xaS4 and couldn't help thinking it really gains relevance today

Niyantha said...

Thanks all!