Tag Archives: Sachin Tendulkar retirement

And these are stats from 2015 !!

How much more money will Sachin Tendulkar make?

When Sachin Tendulkar retired on November 13, 2013, the entire nation stood still to wipe away tears.

Mike in hand, as he addressed the nation in whites for the last time, the sun set on an era of cricket followers. When he choked up in the final leg of his speech, three generations of Indians stopped their work to realised that time had passed. Like Sachin, the entire nation had grown softer around the edges, pudgy on the sides.

There will always be whispers about the lack of celebration when Dravid or Laxman retired, but Sachin Tendulkar retiring was a true turning of the pages of Indian cricket.

The very next day, Sachin was awarded the Bharat Ratna – the greatest civilian award in India. He was made an honorary member of the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House in the Parliament. As he stepped off the field that day, Sachin wound up an entire era of cricket. [Read my blog on Sachin’s retirement].

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As a voracious consumer of popular culture, I am fascinated by brand stories.

I like to track the trajectory of people once their glory days are behind them. That is how I know of Zayed Khan’s production house with Dia Mirza; and that Ravi Shastri lives in the apartment below Sunil Gavaskar’s.

When Sachin Tendulkar retired, I assumed he would go on to lead the dignified life of a modern great. That he would take up adminstrative, coaching, or mentoring programs at domestic, national, and international level. He was never a man of words, so the commentary box would be too much of an ask (Also, how would he feel sitting next to Laxman Sivaramakrishnan?).

Nearly four years since his retirement, Sachin Tendulkar continues to set up business establishments across the country. Sachin today owns enterprises in sports, telecasting, clothing, sports entertainment arcades, and restaurants. This is keeping aside the numerous brand endorsements he is a part of.

Every time you see a mention of Sachin in the papers, it is in relation to the launch of a new product. In his own unique way, Sachin has moved from the Sports page to the Business page of newspapers.

But for how much longer?

One is free to argue that it is his life, and what he chooses to do with the rest of it is completely up to him. Which of course is an irrefutable argument. After spending 30 years of his life to the sport, he is free to choose how he spends the rest of it. But the question remains – aur kitna paisa banayega Sachin?

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Sachin’s contemporaries have all moved in different directions. Anil Kumble and Venkatest Prasad have taken up coaching roles, along with contesting the Karnataka State Cricket Association elections. Javagal Srinath is a match referee.

Saurav Ganguly serves in an administrative position in the Bengal Cricket Academy. Rahul Dravid is the coach and mentor of the under-19 Indian team and recently refused an honorary degree from Bangalore University because he wanted to pursue it as a full time course.

Sachin meanwhile, just launched a new app called 100MB which will provide users with a unique, fresh view into the life of India’s greatest sporting star. Another platform with ‘Yayy India won’ tweets and pictures in front of Ganesh idols.

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When you’ve been the richest sportsperson in the country for two decades, how much is too much?

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As a devout Sachin bhakt, the reports about his lack of activity in Rajya Sabha did not come across as a shocker. In an uncanny coincidence, Lata Mangeshkar – the other Bharat Ratna who was made MP and featured in Tanmay Bhat’s video – was also accused of not doing enough for her constituency.

And these are stats from 2015 !!

And these are stats from 2015 !!

There is no doubt that Sachin remains arguably the most loved Indian alive. That he has a pull over target demographies across age and geography. That Indians will buy anything he promotes – from Rorito Racer Gel to ‘Sach’ Innerwear. Through our entire lives, Sachin has sold us every single product. Want a pen? Reynolds. Want a car? Fiat Palio. Not getting your periods? National Egg Co-ordination Committee. Sachin has endorsed and sold every product that can be stocked, from the glitziest malls to the tiniest kiraana shop. From Infinity Mall to the infinitesimal.

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But as an icon of the game, as the face of a generation, should Sachin Tendulkar be contributing more to the game? Shouldn’t Tendulkar retire from our televisions, and feature in the aspirations of youngsters pursuing the game across the country?

So here it is, from a terrible poet to a great cricketer, a poem filled with hope.

My poem to Sachin, on my blog – 'How much more money will Sachin make?'

A post shared by Hriday Ranjan (@heartranjan) on

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Cover Picture Image courtesy: Factly.

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Din Dhal Jaaye…

 

If I were to turn into a psychotic, cold-blooded, serial murderer, while I am being carried off by the police, let them say of me –

“He was wronged. When the only thing good about his childhood was Sachin Tendulkar, they robbed him of it. Society has hardened his heart to a stone.”

 

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So it has happened.

He has retired, and we have to move on with our lives.

I wanted to write a flowing tribute to the man. A tribute that would explain in detail how he peppered my life with its most beautiful moments. Of how he made my life in an otherwise shitty decade – memorable. Of how my childhood was Sachin Tendulkar.

I would be lying.

 

Because when Sachin was being Sachin, I was caught up at different places, doing everything but watching the match. It’s a long story, and to keep things short, please refer to the chart below.

 

Stellar Sachin Moment What was happening What I was doing
1991, Sydney century A young Sachin was belting fiery Australian bowlers in the fastest pitch in the world. Had just been admitted in my boarding school. Was five years old, so knew nothing about anything.
1996 Wills World Cup The World Cup was happening in India. Day light matches, a terrific costume, and a plundering of Pakistan in the quarter final. Sachin had begun opening the innings in One Days. 4th standard. Our class teacher would come tell us if India won the match. She also added some details of her own. At other times, she told us stories of her childhood, and how she would bathe in a tub full of bubbles in her childhood.
1999 Chepauk century India is chasing down Pakistan’s score in the second innings. While wickets fall left, right, and centre, Sachin keep butchering the bowling, going on to score 136. India lose by 12 runs. Sachin has tears in his eyes, and the legend of ‘When Sachin scores a century…’ is born. Since we weren’t shown any cricket, the only option was to read the newspaper from the staff room – in the fifteen minute gap we had after lunch.

 

The punishment for eating slowly was to be made to sit on the Girls’ side. I never rushed through my lunch.

1998 Coca-Cola Tournament, Sharjah After robbing Shane Warne of any respect he had for himself in a test series, India beat Australia in the semi final and final, and Sachin scored blazing centuries in both the matches. My family had decided that cricket was an unwanted evil. The TV was packed up, and I had to crouch my head against an old Philips radio till I felt like the hunchback of Bhubaneswar. Couldn’t listen to the climax of both the matches.

 

Now, let us have a look at some of the matches that I’ve watched.

 

Stellar Sachin Moment What I was doing What was happening
2003 World Cup Had watched the entire World Cup. On the day of the final, I had stayed back from school. In the PCO I was working in, there were at least 50 people huddled up to watch the match. I sat in front of the TV, right from the Toss, to the end of the match. Zaheer Khan sledged the Australian batsmen, and they launched into an assault that made the Indian bowlers seem like members of the Vaanar Sena.

 

In the chase, Sachin holed out after pulling McGrath for a boundary. Next day, there was school.

2009 India vs Australia India were chasing 351, on a pitch that was providing swing and assistance to the bowlers. I was working as a copywriter, and since my boss hadn’t come to work, I had safely parked my ass in front of the television for the entire match. Sachin scored a blitzkrieg 175. He played the lofted straight drive – in the way only he can, and punched the bowlers in gaps. At 36, he was making a comeback. And everyone watched in silence.

 

India, however lost the match by 3 runs, thanks to Ravinder Jadeja, who had worn his helmet, but forgotten to carry his brain inside it.

2011 World Cup I have moved into Hyderabad, and am studying again. I have no work to do, and have devoted myself to the World Cup in body, mind, and soul. It is the final at Wankhede, Sachin’s motherground. Sachin starts off with two boundaries, and edges Malinga to the keeper.

 

I am taken back to the feeling after the last world cup, a pall of gloom descends.

So there you have it. Everytime he did well, I wasn’t watching the match. And everytime I was watching, he didn’t do well. While he’s playing his last innings, I am in the villages of Ganjam, where electricity hasn’t returned to the houses after cyclone. I grow restless, wrapping up my work to watch him bat. He’s in the 70’s, I finally find a television, and settle down in front of it.

And he edges to First Slip.

I can’t really say with conviction that watching Tendulkar bat was one of the high points of my childhood. I didn’t see too many of his innings – at least not the great ones.

But that is not to say that I grew up without his presence in my life.

 

It was impossible to grow up without Tendulkar in the 90’s. He was India’s first brand – the first person who held sway over people across the country – something no politician, or film star can boast of. Amitabh Bachchan has no relevance down south, Rajini Kanth is more of a pop figure up north. Gandhi is irrelevant for most people these days. But Sachin Tendulkar.

I saw him on hoardings, on the covers of Pepsi bottles, in magazines, and in the stories that my friends told me about him. And I had read tons and tons of articles on him.

Since television was out of bounds, cricket came to me through a different source. From the pens of S. Dinakar and Bobilli Vijay Kumar of The Hindu. While I did not have the colourful, heart-wrenching action in front of my eyes, I had the lyrical fantasies that the two gentlemen wove out in the papers the next day. I read about the drives through the covers, and of lofted drives that flew into the stands.

I read about how Sachin miffed McGrath when he stopped him in his run up, to adjust the sight screen. I read about how a sandstorm forced the cricket to stop, but when it started, a bigger storm was to strike that night in Sharjah.

And I would recreate those scenes in my head. In my mind, Sachin was always a reticent mercenary. A hard-working gritty professional.

 

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In the later years, I was a little embarrassed by the image that was made of Sachin.

Whenever a cricketer flew down to India, we would ask him whether he thought Sachin was the greatest. It was like there was a need for validation.

This deifying of Tendulkar, probably because of how Indian it is, always pissed me off.

 

I have always wondered what it would be like if Tendulkar was not this cherubic, soft-spoken youngster, but a muscular, brash person? What if he talked back to the bowlers, had affairs with actresses as was the norm back then?

Would Tendulkar still have been the hero that he is made to be? I doubt it.

While we talk about the glories on the field, and the 24 years on the ground, the real reason I think Tendulkar is what he is, is because he successfully managed his career without putting a foot wrong. Because he lived up to the pedestal that he was put on – of being a humble, hard working, son of the soil.

That’s how we like our Gods – clean.

 

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While there will always be debates about the Bharat Ratna, I wish it wasn’t conferred on him immediately.

Before you order your gang of friends to find my address, kindly hear my reason out.

All his life, Sachin was scrutinised by the entire country. Every time he came out to bat, the commentator would begin talking about Sachin’s shoulders – ‘He carries a billion expectations on those shoulders of his.’

Or, ‘A billion hopes lie on the shoulders of one man…’

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By elders, by contemporaries, by children – his every step, his every word, every move. A century every time he came out to bat, a word in appreciation of victims of earthquakes and floods. A political opinion from a political party, stooping down to the level of politicians who die everyday, for which there need not be a bandh.

The same moralistic nation that made him a God will now be watching every step of his.

Being conferred with the highest award of the country is a greater pressure. For Tendulkar, it is back to being 16 again. While one test has come to a close, another one begins.

I can imagine Arundhati Roy asking her secretary to buy a new file folder, marking it ‘Tendulkar’, rubbing her hands in joy, waiting for him to commit a mistake. And then, once he commits it, I can see her smile, lick her lips with joy, and begin…

“That day, when the madness of a billion people, the sentiments of a few, bent the country into offering him the highest award of the country. Not an award for his achievement in sports, mind you. But the greatest award that can be conferred on an individual.

And yet, as the din starts to die down, my mind searches frantically for the answer to the question – ‘How did the nation benefit?”

 

The same India that wiped tears of joy as he left, will bay for his blood if they see him doing anything that is against their morals. Just when the pressure seems to ease off, a more vicious pressure will now have its hands ready, to claw at his neck.

I hope we don’t make a Gandhi out of Sachin. An obsolete joke, a token of respect.

 

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The other thing about deifying somebody is that it obliterates the awesome parts of their life – shrouding it with a grey shawl of godliness. An overarching blanket that covers good, just, kind, humble, and awesome. Making ‘Awesome’ only a small part of the entire package of larger goods.

But for most of us, Sachin was not a god. Those are titles that the media makes up, they look good on placards, and in tribute videos.

But we, the children of 90’s, didn’t really treat him as God.

What did we treat him as?

Pure Awesomeness.

That was Tendulkar for us. Not a pagan god for the sport, but a player who could slay the greatest demons with his bat. He could go to any part of the world, on any type of pitches, face the fiercest bowlers, and yet the “Tok” sound that came when his bit hit the cherry, was sweet.

While he deserves every bit of the tribute he gets, for me and most of my friends, Sachin was not God. He was Fuck Awesome.

 

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For all the criticism, when the time came, it did shake me. When I stood in front of the TV, watching him tell his coach that there were no more matches he would play, forcing a smile, and fighting back tears, I choked up too.

Sachin was the last connection to my childhood. A connection I had taken for granted.

Let’s hope he gets to chill out for a few months. And finds something else that he is just as awesome at.

 

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68.9 years.

That’s the average life expectancy of a citizen of India, give (Kerala, Punjab) or take (Assam, Madhya Pradesh) a few years.

68 years is a long time.

If we do reach that age, while our grandchildren make love to their friends over their smartphones, and we sit on a chair, ignored, and someone comes to us and smiles a warm smile, and asks us what we were thinking about, we will say ‘Nothing..’ and shake our heads and smile.

Our grandfathers spoke of the freedom movement. Our parents spoke of their struggles to raise us.

We will speak about a short man with curly hair.

It will be a long, lonely walk. But like someone once said…

India v Sri Lanka - Tri-Series Game 11