Yes. Sachin is retiring. Once and for all. The day that millions of children and youth all over India dreaded has arrived. I too belong to the generation of Indian kids who grew up worshipping him and ended up sinking into a depression whenever he got out. Some of us still do that. But things changed for me after the 2003 world cup loss. Nowadays I seldom keep track of the matches India plays. I limit myself to occasional moments of checking scores online when I know a match is on. And after the advent of IPL, I even became an active dissenter of the way things were heading. But in spite of all that, seeing Sachin go, does tug at my heart a bit.
Looking back at Sachin’s career, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he has had his share of criticisms. Right from the early ‘90s when the whole team was criticised for depending too much on Sachin, to the days of his chequered captaincy record, to the days when people began criticising him for his knocks that stood in stark contrast to the team’s performance, to the days of his wavering performance when vociferous calls for his retirement peaked, he has seen it all, one could say.
But then, who is free from criticism? We live in a nation that criticised and still criticises the Mahatma. After all, we as well as they are all humans. But one truth will remain undisputed. Sachin leaves behind a legacy that will remain rooted in millions of hearts. It is a legacy that will stand the test of time; A legacy that you cannot ignore; A legacy that changed the way a generation lived and breathed.
According to me, that is the ultimate purpose that has been served. End of story. Such luminaries come and go in almost all walks of life. I voiced the above opinion when Steve Jobs died as well. Of course, he too had his share of criticisms. But these are the people who redefined their field and inspired millions. Without their contributions, a piece of our lives and our worlds would go missing. A generation of inspired individuals would be lost in the dark. The present and future generations cannot help but stand on their shoulders to look beyond. That kind of legacy is what the world has seen in its past, sees in its present and will see in its future. That is something special and beyond criticism.