Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sachin Tendulkar and the Curse of the 99

Sachin Tendulkar, the undisputed deity of cricket and the 'ladlaa beta' of India is presently chasing his 100th international century. As I write this, the Master has just walked off after falling on 73 at the ongoing Boxing day test at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground, 27 runs shy of the coveted crown that, so far, been worn by none. Tendulkar (often called Ton-dulkar) has been stranded on 99 International centuries since his glorious century against South Africa in March at the World Cup. Since then, he has had close to 17 attempts to get to the tally of hundred 100s but has been thwarted by what we can, now, call the 'curse of the 99'.

 It's not that he has been nursing a bad form or is not piling up runs for his team. He has been in great nick (as Always) and, at times, in ominous form and has come at a sniffing distance in no less than 4 occasions including a couple of 90s to his credit. But he has been denied what is rightfully his by this curse that refuses to abandon him and has loyally stuck to him like an ever-creeping shadow. From India to England to India again and now to Australia, this curse has hounded him and the millions of his devotees in a horrifying display of its dark prowess. His prolonged stay on '99' is ironic since Sachin had chosen to flash '99' as his jersey number for a long time during his olden, golden days. His history seems to have resurrected in the form of a surreal curse to torment his present.....

Sachin, himself, is pursuing his relentless chase for this much-awaited century with a child-like obsession. In some ways, Tendulkar is no less than an enthusiastic child! A child, no matter how much he is scolded or punished, continues his yearnings for fanciful objects like the unreachable moon. Tendulkar, too, despite being thwarted, continues his pursuit to reach an ethereal space where no man, living or dead, has walked before. Sachin, with his baggage of 99 tons, has already conquered a summit that no cricketer has scaled or shall ever scale (though, of course, cricket is proverbially 'a game of glorious uncertainties). But with this entire world so fascinated with 'numbers', this magician must wield his willow to conjure the 'number 100' to register his permanent stamp of dominance in the history books. 

Today, yet again, he came agonizingly close to this magic figure before getting bowled out by Peter Siddle on 73 in front of a colossal crowd of 50,000 spectators watching him with awe & reverence as he crafted a flawless, sublime innings that totally deserved the standing ovation which he spontaneously got. In fact, his dismissal at the very peak of his innings can be seen as the depiction of imperfectness in a most perfect manner. (To read more about the 'perfect' imperfectness, read: http://chocolateboy-ritesh.blogspot.com/2011/12/sachin-tendulkar-perfectness-of-being.html).
 And even though, he failed to cross the final  hurdle, the breathless pace of the inning seemed to bewitch the MCG viewers and freeze the cascading time. Like a super computer, he seemed to have fed himself with important data as he headed onto the pitch where he exhibited impeccable timing, technique and innovation to negotiate the outswingers and upper-cut the bouncers.  

But the curse, eventually, had the last smile as it devoured the God at a time when he was looking mightily invincible. The curse can also be compared to a desert's mirage which lures the thirsty traveler to journey through sand & sun looking for that elixir of life only to disappoint him in the end. Tendulkar, too, does all the hard work and builds his way towards the waiting milestone only to be denied at the last moment. The Master has fallen a prey yet again to the bait thrown by this 'curse of the 99' in a most bizarre, unreal fashion. 
 But the final battle shall certainly be won by Tendulkar, the voyage will be journeyed one day, the 100th hundred shall surely be scored....because this 'elixir' lies concealed in a holy grail from which only the God is allowed to drink.......

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