Saturday, November 16, 2013

the note

I don't understand the indian cricket fan. i was not that guy. i loved cricket because i played the game for most part of my life, and i loved the people who made it look glorious, and most of all, sachin. so when it actually sunk in that it was his last act, i couldn't be where i was. two thousand miles away from where he was. How i got from a swimming pool in singapore, across an ocean and 2 other cities, to finding a ticket outside wankhede stadium in 24hrs is a whole different story. but that's not the one i am going to talk about. The story i am going to talk about started much before that. 24 years before. the universe conspired like it usually does on the greatest of days and i was there, on his last day on the field.his swan song. The indian cricket fan, did not waste any time, he started the chant right from the word go. I was a little annoyed, this is test cricket, lets pace our applause well, lets wait for the crescendo, i thought to myself. but as i said, i don't understand the indian cricket fan. So he chanted and chanted, and soon enough , sachin came to field at the extracover boundary. where i was sitting, with the indian cricket fan. Meanwhile, a match was in progress. while i watched silently, observing sachin. Nothing much was happening except once when he plucked a few blades of grass and dropped them in the air to check the wind direction, that caused a bowling change. He gave up his run to the boundary chasing a four much before another fielder because he knew exactly the pace of the outfield.But apart from that, it was usual test cricket, i probably even fell asleep also for a few minutes. Then something happened, sachin turned around to come closer to the boundary and expectedly the fan started chanting his name again, this time much louder. Sachin tried to look sideways, more chanting, looked at the ground,it dint stop, and then he just waved slightly at both of us. he dint have a smile on his face, it was an awkward wave, like he was did not know what to do. Just as he did, the fan went berserk. he just got louder. This ritual went on for the next one hour. Sachin would turn to walk back, the fan would go crazy and he would awkwardly wave. it struck me then, he still can't deal with it. he tries every day, over and over again, he's done it for 24 years. Everyday sachin tries to understand this guy, the fan, but he doesn't . because if he did, he would look him in the eye.I was annoyed with the fan. How insensitive, i thought, two hours into the game. I wondered how much the fan would've annoyed sachin all these years, when all he wanted to play his game.India won the match. The fan was euphoric, his voice was deafening, it slowly engulfed me,the only thing i could hear, was the chant, i took a deep breath as sachin started walking out of the ground and tears rolled down my eyes. in that moment, i became the him,that fan, i was the deafening voice. i was chanting. Sachin put his arms in the air to acknowledge my voice, and he walked out. i understood the indian cricket fan. He is a guy in love, not with anyone, but just in love, and for all these years sachin has helped him express it in his own way. He has helped us put aside our lives and just love. The presentation ceremony ended and then, Sachin spoke, for the first time, to me . For 24 years, he's let his game do the talking, today, after the game's done, he wanted to talk. there was a deathly silence. As he began to talk tears kept rolling down my cheek because i saw a person, behind the god we projected. And this man was beautiful, he told us about his life, he told us about his family, and he told us about his sport. i must say, well played. And when he was carried across the ground i realized i never witnessed a man of flesh and blood perform such a feat, a feat the whole mankind wants to achieve. he defeated time. and so did we with him. he made our lives pass in the blink of an eye. And he did it so simply, he must be really tired i thought, because i feel tired. So now that he takes the bow, i do too, i , the indian cricket fan. it's time to get some rest.