Friday, November 25, 2011

Hum Intezaar Karenge

It was the late hours of the evening, where the professed time of sleep for my son had arrived. I was due to perform that duty, reading a set quota of books to him, written by authors I have never heard off. I fired up my trusty Windows smartphone to see what the score might be. On the other side of the world, near the shores of the Arabian Sea, a diminutive giant of a man was heading towards a statistical Everest. Flurries of boundaries as well as an upper cut over the ropes were showing up in the twitter-like commentary that the mobile version of the site was providing. In due deference to the moment that was to arrive, I asked my wife to drop whatever it she was doing and take over my task for the night.

I was an ‘I was there’ moment for me that would translate into an ‘I wasn’t there’ moment for my son; but I am sure he’ll understand when he grows up.

I rushed down to the hall downstairs, switched on my laptop, headed to my list of streaming sites that I trust to bring me the telecast, and cozied myself into my sofa seat, ready for the inevitable. Since updating my Facebook status while cricket goes on has become a regular habit since the World Cup, I posted the following: “I have nails to bite and I am biting them. He has 99 centuries and he is on 94. Hmm, 99.94 :)”

I have enough cricket-crazy friends on my Facebook list to not have to explain the significance of that number. I wrote that, clicked enter, and shifted to the window with the live feed. Ravi Rampaul, the one who produced a brute of a delivery to get Tendulkar’s wicket in the World Cup game, played a similar hand. Ball pitched just short of length, and bouncing just a tad more. Tendulkar, who had batted beautifully until then, decided to hit a trademark backfoot punch. Wrong choice of shot. The celebrations of Rampaul and Sammy would not have endeared them to Indian fans, but hey, they had every right to rejoice.

One mistake and the interminable wait extends. With Tendulkar out of the ODI series against the Windies, the onus shifts to MCG and the Boxing Day game. I know that Australia is one of Tendulkar’s favorite opponents, but a tour of Australia should not have had this landmark to contend with. More drama added to this tale.

I frequented some news articles on the missed opportunity, and as with any Tendulkar article, you realize that he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. People, who would scarcely score a run in gully cricket, call him selfish and playing for records and hogging place in the team; never mind that he still remains one of the top scorers in the team. People who don’t know in swing from out swing believe that he remains incapable of scoring another ton, never mind that he has scored 99 before this. 99! If your mind doesn’t jump everytime you read that statistic, it is simply because nothing Tendulkar does will ever be good enough. He sets a benchmark and keeps excelling it. That single-minded pursuit of greatness, without losing his humility is a very rare cocktail, one which has brought him thus far.

When will century no. 100 happen? I don’t know. At the start of the World Cup, I had posted on Facebook that my dream was that Tendulkar would score a century in the final at Wankhede; his 100th, and then India would lift the cup. That came very close; yesterday was very close, and perhaps there are a couple more heartaches along the way. Nonetheless, watching the man play is a blessing that we should enjoy, without getting lost in the absolute numbers. Sometimes, a straight drive hit right between the stumps and the bowler, is worth its weight in gold. Century no. 100 will happen. Until then, ‘hum intezaar karenge!’


Pallavi said...

:)..guess its not meant to happen at Wankhede. And about opinionated articles/write ups, less (of reading) is more. He remains untouched or so does he appear, and his fans should too, perhaps.

Parth said...

@Pallavi: I suppose HE is a monk. His fans unfortunately, are more subsceptible :) At least it shrugged me out of my non-writing phase!