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The Sachin Farewell – A View from the Stands and beyond November 19, 2013

Posted by Karan in General.
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It was 1400 hours on Saturday, the 16th of November, 2013. Hearts heavy with what we had just experienced, Himank and I decided not to stick around for one last glimpse. We decided to make way for lunch and drinks at the nearby Cafe Mondegar in Colaba. Predictably, there was a fair bit of a queue outside the joint and it was dominated by fans wearing the iconic No.10 jersey and sporting the Indian flag paint. After some jostling, we made our way to the table and set about conversing about what we had just witnessed. A couple of drinks later, with the screen showing his shots, we went down the memory lane, and spoke about the hundred against Henry Olonga’s Zimbabwe, the straight sixes against Eddo Brandes, the hook against Caddick, the best Indian chases all involving him- Desert Storm 1998 and Commonwealth twin innings’ 2010, the straight drive, the innings’ against Pakistan in 2003, World Cup 1996, the back pain and innings against Saqlain & co in Chennai, Dale Steyn competing with him… It just kept going on.

Within a few minutes, we realised that the four young lads in the table next to us, all sporting Sachin jerseys were discussing exactly the same. And so were the group of friends in the table behind us. Ditto with the two couples ahead of us. I don’t know what it was, I don’t know how it worked but I’d never witnessed anything like what was going to happen in the next few minutes. Someone started it from a couple of tables behind us and within no time, the entire cafe broke into chants of “Sachin.. Sachin”. Here. In the cafe. In the middle of the day. We went, “Thank You Sachin”; “Saaaachin..” and all the Sachin chants which we witnessed at the Wankhede. It was unbelievable. Like they say, “Divided by , united by Sachin”. The Europeans in the Cafe, were of course, bewildered, but took the opportunity to soak into the moment and capture “Incredible India” on their cameras. The chanting continued through the afternoon, and you could look at various moist eyes even after the emotional cauldron in the stadium.

Somehow, it felt natural that this should happen. Somehow, it felt inevitable. It was as if we were all gripped by a common force and energy. If there is anyone who has inspired and been loved by the entire nation more in equivocal terms, I’ve not heard of that person.

It has been three days since I witnessed the outpouring of emotions and those words coming from Sachin. I still can’t get over the profoundness and candidness of the speech. It was not earth shattering, Sachin is not the best orator, and it was nothing that we didn’t know. But the connection he made with us in the stands, and beyond was striking. Again, I had never witnessed anything close to this. But then, I don’t think we’ve witnessed anything like Sachin Tendulkar.

The moment which I can never forget is when he walked purposefully across the ground from the Pavilion to the wicket. We were all wondering why it was, and before we realised it, Sachin had bent down, paid his obeisance to the soil and took its blessings before the packed house for one last time. It was at this moment that even the strongest amongst us in the stands broke down.

And so did Sachin.

I still feel that I am floating in the numbness which took over the stands just after Sachin left the ground.

Thank you Sachin.