Sachin has hit the 100thcentury. [Since nobody has asked for my reaction, and nobody will, it is time to write about it.]
For the generation which had too little to celebrate, or so I felt when I was young [and furious at the result of war with China in 1962], Cricket restored the sense of pride when Wadekar and his team won the series at West Indies in 1971. There was no TV then and we were glued to radios and transistors to listen to the commentary.
Gavaskar was truly the greatest player of his times, if not one of the all time great. His major contribution was in my opinion to give confidence to the Indian players, present and future, that they can beat any team in the world. Kapil and his team won the World cup, Kapil too was an extraordinary all rounder whose will to succeed was unparalleled. All this goes to build confidence of the future generations. In that sense I often feel that Sachin stands on the shoulders of these giants.
When you look back, and I can see sixty years in the rear view mirror, I feel deeply indebted to the God that I lived in the times when some all-time-greats were on the centre stage. Lata, Asha, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Bhimsen Joshi, Pt. Samta Prasad, Zakir Hussain, his father Alla Rakha [he sat next to me waiting for a flight and we chatted for twenty minutes – that was the only time I thanked Indian Airlines], Ravishankar, PL Deshpande, Acharya Atre are some who are on my list. And yes, Sunil Gavaskar.
And today we must recognise another addition – Sachin Tendulkar, actually he was there since a long time.
There would be thousands who may share the same feeling. It is also the reason why Bharat Ratna award becomes irrelevant, because we have already placed him on the highest pedestal.
On this day when Sachin has created history, I would like to thank all those who have made my life richer by their presence – although they never knew about it.
It is time to acknowledge their debt, express gratitude openly. More specifically to Sachin. Even then I will not be able to say enough for all these persons of eminence.
Mark Twain was right when he said “gratitude is a debt which usually goes on accumulating like blackmail; the more you pay, the more is exacted.” Let it be so; I am willing to say thanks to Sachin et al one hundred times!