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The aura around Sachin Tendulkar

By Sanjay Maljure
March 18, 2003 14:59 IST
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There is a stillness in him. The stillness of spirit. It is a prerogative of the gifted. When the gifted man finally makes peace with his gift, it can be quite a beautiful thing. It represents all that is good and natural in us and is infinitely far away from all that is base and mean in us. We are talking about Sachin Tendulkar here.

The extraordinarily gifted, who we call genius are quite predictable people. At some point in their lives they discover that they are exceedingly good at something. There is no rhyme or reason as to why they and not their siblings or next-door neighbours are great at it. Depending on their temperament they either apply themselves on honing the gift or they trivialize it. Very few match their talent with discipline, effort, and ambition. On the few occasions where the size of the talent equals the self-aware application toward the realization of the gift -- there is magic -- Beethoven's music, Van Gogh's paintings, Shakespeare's plays, Abraham Lincoln's clarity of thought and expression, Michael Jordan's fade-away jumper, Sachin Tendulkar's back-foot punch straight drive. But they all deal with a common question: Why me?

It is their secret yearning. Such a question is no different than the 'why me?' that a man who is born blind asks himself and his Maker. It can be quite a nerve-wracking journey. The apparent randomness with which the gift fell in to his lap is not lost on the genius. If the genius learns how to deal with his gift and the reckless nature of its bestowal then a far more challenging situation awaits him. He has to learn how to deal with the world. The genius wants to know if the riches and the adulation he receives are because of him or because of the gift. Soon he realizes the absurdity of his question. He scoffs at the masses for not understanding his plight. Some men adopt bravado. They seek to apportion all of their gift to themselves.

They offer the comical. Some men adopt fatalism. They seek to apportion all of their gift to God. They offer the modest. A few make their peace with their gift. And they offer the stillness. The stillness of spirit. It is a rarity. They offer a naturalness that is no less than fish in water, a calmness that soothes, a brilliance that inspires, a vision that clarifies, and simplicity of expression that soars due to its brevity.

Sachin Tendulkar's journey to this stage has been remarkable because of its unremarkable ness. There were no tantrums, there was no bravado, and there was no trial and error about what personality would best suit him -- at least not in public. Get in line early and play the ball. There was some anguish during his captaincy. You see it is difficult for the genius to accept that what is first nature to him is extremely difficult for the rest of the team.

He tried to control and shape the way others in his team played the game. He gave it up. He made his peace.

What does it represent to us -- the masses, the junta, the crowd, the gallery, the ungifted? They say when you die there is a moment where your entire life passes in front of your eyes. They say it looks beautiful. They say at that moment you want exactly what you always had. You want your wife, your kids, your job, your boss, your problems, your uncomfortable chair, your noisy apartment, your small screen TV, your debts, your brother, your mother, your backache, your friends, your Sachin Tendulkar back-foot punch straight drive... You want it all back. You want to love it all one last time.

We have it all right now.

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