This column is pointless because Sir Lord Jedi King Of The World Mother of Dragons Sachin Tendulkar has retired and nobody cares about anything anymore, including my editors, which means that any rubbish I write will be printed MY HUMPS MY HUMPS MY LOVELY LADY LUMPS.
Before I proceed, I’d like to reaffirm my allegiance to the Church of Sachin and assure you that as a mark of respect, I am wearing my abdomen guard at half-mast today. In fact, I’m going to go out and have some kids right now, just so I can sacrifice them at the Altar of Aila.
Having said that, it was a little sad to see Sachin go out the way he did. He began his career in Pakistan, with Wasim and Waqar gunning for his head, and ended it against Whatshisname and Whatshisface from a team whose current ICC Test ranking is LOL. It’s like having Michael Schumacher end his career with a race against female drivers from Saudi Arabia.
But even so, Sachin’s last match was about something glorious, something much bigger than you and me: celebrities. Aamir Khan turned up and said that he’d love to play Sachin on screen. In fact, Aamir has already started preparing by having really whiny childhood friends. Rahul Baba was at the Wankhede too, where – and this is true – the crowd taunted him with chants of “Modi Modi”. There are two possibilities here:
a) The chant is indicative of a real shift in voter sentiment across the country.
b) The Wankhede crowd just wanted someone to mess with. These are the same people who, in the golden days, threw Nagma chants at Ganguly, so really, this bunch of overgrown sixth graders is hardly indicative of voter sentiment. However, they wouldn’t have taunted Modi with a chant, because it’s really difficult to put a beat to “Kodnani Amit Shah Godhra US Visa Hashtag Fail”.
Another celeb who received a lot of footage was Ultimate Sachin Fan Sudhir Gautam aka the bald guy with the tri-colour body paint, who attends all of India’s matches and looks like a malnourished Vinod Kambli. You can call him nuts, but I’m a little jealous of his enthusiasm. I wish I was as crazy and passionate about something, anything, as Gautam is about going out there day after day and getting lead poisoning from all that paint.
This is also the perfect time to catch up on Sachin trivia. My favourite nugget is that when Sachin made his debut in 1989, most of his current teammates were in diapers. For example, Virat Kohli was just a year old. But even at that age, his talent shone through as he picked up his little plastic bat and said, “TERI BLEEP KI BLEEP, BLEEP-BLEEP!” and then stalked the baby in the next pram.
(My own connection with The Master was forged at age six, when I asked for my first, proper big-boy bat and got one that just happened to have a legend’s autograph on it. I wasn’t really aware of player names then, but I was still over the moon, showing it off to the older boys in the park, whose reaction was, “Meh. Now go field.” That’s because it was a Sanjay Manjrekar autograph, which, as I realised, was like having a guitar signed by a groupie who’d once bumped into Ringo Starr.)
At Wankhede, the West Indians were just glorified bowling machines. Their job was to deliver balls to Sachin, who hit them sky-high, where they blossomed into unicorns and vomited rainbows all over the city. I’m okay with missing that, but I wish I could’ve been there for that farewell speech, because it has been a while since I bawled in public.
And of course, I wish I could be there for the after-parties. After a career marred by propriety and political correctness, I want to see Sachin go nuts the way he’s supposed to. I want to see him get sloshed and run around the room pretending to be a train. I want to see him hug Ganguly again while saying, “TU MERA BHAI HAI, BHAI!” thirty times in one night. I want to see Sachin scrunch up his face, bite his lower lip and do a tapori dance to Sapne Mein Milti Hai, just like every Maharashtrian man at a party ever. But most of all, I just want him to read the following: Dear Sachin, thank you for a lifetime supply of warm and fuzzy feelings in my happy place. Also, could you please autograph this old bat I have lying around?
(Note: This is my HT column dated 17th Nov 2013.)