is a country with a lot of national holidays where holidays are defined as days
on which the Indians officially don’t need to work. The variety of reasons for
these national holidays vary from those with religious significance viz.
Diwali, Xmas, Eid, to the birth days of departed national heroes viz., Gandhi
Jayanti, Ambedkar Jayanti, to other events of historic significance viz.,
Independence day, Republic day, to celebrating new years according to various
During the 1990’s and early 2000’s people expected an
additional holiday every year for voting at the national elections as coalition
governments fell with an alarming regularity. Holidays were also declared by
governments to mourn the loss (?) of a national leader. It is rumoured that the
really keen holiday planners used to have a list of all octogenarian leaders
and kept a keen look out for any news of ill health on their part. Those good
old days are gone now as the government realised that with the changing age
profile most national leaders would be dear departed souls in few years.
Most of these holidays other than the religious ones are
used as an opportunity to take vacations. In case of birthdays of departed
leaders the majority rarely takes time to remember their values and teachings
and in some instances are actually frowned upon due to unavailability of booze
in shops to party. The Mahrashtra government, it is heard, is proposing to
announce a public holiday for a living person whose birthday is celebrated with
aplomb far more than any other person’s birthday save those who founded
It argues that Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday should be
declared as a national holiday given the hoopla surrounding the event every
year and given the religious significance of the day. The day – 24th
April will be named Runmashtami*. Cricket has always been bandied as a religion
in the country and Sachin Tendulkar has been its undisputed God # 1, for most
Indians i.e. There have been doubters but with the latest miracles of holding
back age and performing at his best those doubters have been silenced by the
sheer strength of the noise made by his followers. And just like in Hinduism
which tolerates atheists and doubters, the religion of Cricket will also move
on with nonbelievers.
One expects a lot of FB campaigns to be opened up supporting
this proposal. It just takes a few buttons to be clicked sitting out of one’s
cosy arm chair and voila we will have a national movement on our hands.
If the readers think that one is going to the extremes in
propounding such outrageous theories then they just have to read and watch the
media coverage given to this event, which basically adds one more year to a
great cricketer’s life. The tiniest details of the party to be thrown in SRT’s
honour by the owner of his team (so if he is God what does that make the owner
of MI?) are being told as state secrets.
The list of Bollywood attendees, the size of the cake, the length of the
candles on the cake are all well publicised.
This entire circus is now makes one wonder if India should
start following a Sachinian calendar ala Gregorian calendar. There are so many
events in Tendulkar’s life which the media doesn’t let us forget. The day he
started his career, the day he scored the 200 in an ODI against SA, the day he broke
Lara’s record and so on and so forth. One wants to give another valuable
suggestion for this Sachinian calendar. Given that this article is written
during the Easter weekend, which talks of Christ’s resurrection, one cursory
search of the innings that turned around his prolonged slump can be considered
to be the Easter of this calendar.
Its not Tendulkar’s fault that the media is going wild so
one wishes him a very happy birthday and future success.
* - hat tip to sfx for the term Runmashtami
The biggest road party that one has ever attended had already had a smaller cousin just a few days earlier. The victory against Pakistan had seen enormous traffic at Marine Drive with people seemingly taking hours to just cross that 3km stretch in a car. But 3rd April 2011 was even bigger. The Pak win was in Mohali, yesterday was a few hundred meters away from the action. It was already past midnight when one caught a glimpse of the ocean of people that was carrying a huge wave of flags, musical instruments and cheer. People were hugging each other and waiting patiently for hours to get a glimpse of the Indian team bus. One's eyes moistened on seeing the joy and hope that the Indian team had given to its suppoprters.
Reams has been written aboutthe ugly side of the Indian supporter but yesterday was a night that will forever be etched in memory. A nation had demanded their heroes to get the trophy and once its demand was met, after heart breaks for almost 3 decades, it had come out in full force to party. It had criticised the team for sub par performances in the qualifiers, debated and discussed and cursed the omission of R Ashiwn, ridiculed Nehra and Sreesanth and joked about the Indian fielders. The supporters wanted an absolutely crushing performance every time the team stepped out on the field. They didn't believe in peaking at the right time nor did they believe that maybe the team wasn't performing at its absolute peak because all it needed to get its hand on the trophy was to win 3 matches. But yesterday they had turned Believers.
It was an emotional day for everyone. It wasn't the perfect script that the entire nation had hoped for. The movie script would have Sachin scoring his 100th ton and winning the final for his team. He didn't. It could well be the last time he was wearing the India blue shirt. The stadium did not really gave him a huge send off from what one saw on TV but it may be more because of the shock everyone felt on seeing him get out. But the rest of the team saw to it that the other half of the script - the winning part - was fulfilled. And that was what really mattered. Destiny beckoned and it was realised for him by a band of fearless and professional mates.
In the 2 knock out matches when the opponents had two great individual performances, his team still won. It was a dream end for a man who himself was on the receiving end of such heart breaks on numerous occassion. It was a delightful irony that the country that denied him victory the most number of times inspite of his super human efforts, Australia, was reduced to ponder over how Ricky Ponting's century was in vain. And this time Andrew Symonds will not question about how can the T20 champions be called World Champions. Jayawardene's supreme knock too proved to be futile in the finale and one is sure that Sachin would find it immensely satisfying to be a part of this team
Gary Kirsten is not a man who shows emotions but the jump after that terrific six and the raised hands showed how much it meant to him as well. The fact that he was planning this with his team and other aides for almost a year shows the kind of preparation that had gone behind this triumph. His last match as the India coach may probably be his best match ever. At last a South African has won it.
And finally a sigh of relief for the almost incident free manner in which this tournament was hosted. One thanks and salutes all the security personnel and the scores of people who worked tirlessly behind the limelight to make this event as successful, if not more, as any before it. A big cheer to the Indian Cricket team and to the organising trio of nations for letting one enjoy this great cricketing extravaganza.