I’m rather proud I don’t cry easily and for cricket tears have flowed thrice.
Chennai ’99 – The heartbreak that will never heal – angry and hurt; tears were the only way to vent out my frustration, my anger, my hurt.
2Apr2011 – It was a magical night, the best in my 22 years of watching and loving this game. To have witnessed it live when India won the World Cup. Plethora of emotions all over – a billion people paralyzed with immense joy. I have never ever experienced such madness and I came home, sat down on my bed, tried to calm down my heart and let out. Tears of joy – I knew then why people cry when they are happy.
9Mar2012 – My favourite cricketer bid adieu- majority of my cricketing life spent arguing with folks why he was among the greats, why I identified the most with him – his relentless, undying, selfless service to the nation and to this wonderful game of cricket. Listening to Rahul’s press conference that day – I still get Goosebumps
And today, you made me sob inconsolably after it all ended. I was prepared for the departure from 2 years, I was seeing the struggle and it was hurting me. Given the magnum opus your career has been – all I wanted was a gracious walk into the sunset for you. So let’s keep aside all that went into arranging this series.
You gave us a collector’s edition in that 74 you played yesterday. I went back in time to 2001 when you played those delightful twin knocks Vs. Aus. – in a match we lost – but those gems I still recollect ball-by-ball. They don’t call you GOD for nothing – divinity in that straight drive – that will live within us forever.
But I was not prepared for the speech you gave today – that last gesture of bowing to your Karmabhoomi – paying your one last final homage before you walked away. How did you manage to be so calm, composed, not choke up – what must have gone through your mind – every single day of those 24 years played out in slow motion or rabid pace?
You did not forget anyone – not a single person who contributed to your long journey. Every single one mattered to you – family, friends, coaches, teammates, groundsmen, cameraman and fans.
Many of us will never achieve in our lives what you achieved – but we can learn and inculcate two things from you – retain the innocence always no matter how old you get – the innocence and charm of a 16 year old heart that first stepped on a cricket ground and the amazing humility you have displayed.
Feet perfectly grounded – head still, straight bat!
First you make a billion people smile for 24 years and then make us all cry like little babies in those last 24 minutes.
It was the BEST.FAREWELL.SPEECH.EVER and it came from the best player to have graced this game I have so loved.
The last chord to my childhood that I was so desperately clinging onto is now cut off – only memories remain in a small corner of the mind.
And all that I’m left for company with today is tears – tears of joy and sadness.