[Author’s Note: The author of this article is a tireless fan of Tendulkar. Hence, the emotions he went through cannot be precisely manifested through mere words.]
Sachin Tendulkar rewrote history books past Friday, 16th March, 2012 (hitherto, an historic date) as he slammed his 100th international century against Bangladesh in Mirpur. The hype & hue notwithstanding, this century felt sweeter than it actually was owing to the fact that it came after an unforeseeably agonizing wait of over a year.
I, on my part, had been indefatigably watching all the matches (especially when he was on crease) as I have been doing ever since I started watching cricket (1996 World Cup) in order to not to miss the historic moment. However, Tendulkar’s willow had been teasing me and millions of his devotees for so many months before surprisingly falling prey to our collective prayers in Mirpur. (PS- I even woke up at 5 am during the Australia tour. He had fallen for 80 on that occasion L L).
This Friday, however, I was on the brink of missing out on this much-awaited moment since I had an appointment with a doctor. It so happened that I had left my house at 1 pm, half-an-hour before the match was due to begin. The chamber of the said doctor was on the other side of my city and I was expecting to return home by around 5 pm. I was aloof & uninformed about the condition of the match as I waited impatiently in the doc’s chamber for my turn to arrive. Of course, I had no inkling of the fact that India was put to bat and that Tendulkar had begun his show.
Surprisingly, before long, my turn arrived (a few minutes earlier than I had anticipated) and the diagnosis procedure got over in no time. Then my Mama (uncle) who was escorting me took me to the adjacent ‘Haldiram’ (an eatery) to help me fill my belly. As I munched on my favorite Masala Dosa, I thrillingly saw Sachin & Kohli batting together with the scorecard just getting past 100. It became evident to me that Sachin must be close to his half-century and this may be the day the country has been waiting for. I had a premonition that today, he would get past the jinx and strike that ton.
Egged with a sudden sense of urgency, I gobbled up my Dosa and then hurried out to return home (which would take another 30-40 minutes or so). I just wished to reach home before he struck his ton. Though my Mama insisted that I go with him to his house (which was not as distant as mine), I politely refused since I wanted to attack my personal TV remote. A metro (underground rail) and an auto journey later I reached home and immediately tuned into channel number 33 (reserved for cricket). My heart leapt with joy as I saw the same pair (whom I had left at Haldiram) still on crease. Sachin was on 87 and Kohli slightly behind. Though Kohli departed soon much to my thrill (I didn’t want the limelight to be shared my someone else), Sachin was tentative as he inched from 90 to 100. He crawled, snailed and moved only gradually-but in the end, he was home. That nudge on the leg side made the stadium erupt, the commentators were raving, I was over the moon. The mundane world didn’t exist anymore for me……That moment had frozen itself to eliminate every trivial worries of life….. …The curse of 99 had been overpowered….. Sachin had finally drunk the elixir from the goblet.
PS- This century was carved out only out of sheer grit and that 4-hour optional practice session. Only Sachin could have struck a ton at a time when he was going through a miserable form. ‘Sach’ a magician!