November 18, 2013

Highlights from the Tendulkar retirement reel

It was a time for wrenching emotion, frank outpourings, and high-pressure hoses

"Oh gosh, I do believe I might have a little something in my eye," admitted Ian Bishop while commentating during Tendulkar's emotional final speech.

"Don't we all, Bish, don't we all," said a Harsha Bhogle in response, his voice breaking.

"Yes, you know, it isn't like me at all to make such a show of something like this," continued Bishop, "but fact is I've got water gushing out of my right eye as I speak."

"I know," said Sourav Ganguly. "There's isn't a dry eye in this box."

"For the love of God, I think there's an insect in my eye!" screamed Bishop as he blundered blindly out of the commentator's box. "Would someone please help me! My God, what is wrong with you people?"

"Wow," said Sunil Gavaskar sympathetically as he came in, "you know for a neutral, he's really taking this pretty hard."


In a touching gesture, the little master didn't omit to inform fans in his farewell speech just how much their chanting of his name has come to mean to him over the years. "'Sachiiin, Sachin' will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing," said Tendulkar. "That is, unless I act fast and get some therapy or something."


Arguably the most poignant moment on the final day of Tendulkar's cricketing career came when he walked out to the middle alone, paused when he reached the pitch, and then reached down to tighten his shoelaces. Everyone agreed that it was a most respectful gesture to take care of his appearance on this most important of days. "Besides, untied laces wouldn't have reflected well on the shoe sponsors," shrugged Tendulkar.


Tendulkar repeatedly thanked people for "fasting" for him throughout his career, and in a gesture typical of the generosity and spirit of the man, announced plans to rehabilitate the handful of people he still had hooked up to life-support machines in hospitals around the country with immediate effect. "I'd like to let these people know that they can eat normally again," he declared. "Let the feeding tubes be removed!"


Rohit Sharma can never be accused of being the sharpest zipper-tooth to scuff a cricket ball, but even he will surely one day come to realise the magnitude of the mistake he made in his post-match comments. Not only did he fail to dedicate his Man-of-the-Series award to Tendulkar in his acceptance speech, he barely mentioned Tendulkar even once in his comments. If that wasn't enough, he then proceeded to commit the ultimate faux pas in Indian cricket - that of honouring a fast bowler over an Indian batting great - when he chose instead to recognise Mohammad Shami's efforts in the first Test.


The guard of honour that Tendulkar's team-mates gave him as he walked back from the middle for one last time apparently doesn't end at the ground. Touchingly and creepily, the players were in his room when he woke up the next morning, and scurried round one another again to allow the great man to pass between them on his way to the bathroom. An overcome Tendulkar, clearly still emotional from the previous day's events, could only croak over his wife's screams, "What the **** are you guys doing in my room?" The players have pledged to continue to provide the guard of honour everywhere Tendulkar goes over the next few months, and, according to sources, they mean everywhere.


Not even Duncan Fletcher was spared succumbing to emotion on Sachin's final day, according to sources who could tell. "If you tried really hard, you could see that he was quite overcome," said someone close to Fletcher, who understandably wished not to be named. "If you observed Duncan's facial structure during the ceremony, for example, you would have immediately noticed a couple of things: firstly, that there is no facial structure to speak of, and secondly, be that as it may, you could still see a difference in the quality of its stoniness. The degree of stiffness in the upper lip was especially pronounced, which, perversely, is the best gauge of just how emotional the man is feeling." The lip had reportedly gotten so stiff by the end of the night that people were using it to crack open beer bottles well into the wee hours of the night.


Sudhir Kumar Gautam has made a career of sorts for himself simply by painting his entire body in the colours of the Indian flag and following Sachin Tendulkar around.

At least, it had always been assumed it was Sudhir Gautam. But when concerned friends and family took the opportunity of Sachin's retirement to train a high-pressure hose on the man they hadn't seen without the paint for the better part of the past ten years, they found they were not staring at the familiar naked form they had hoped to rest their eyes on, but a howling void of nothingness.

"Better not get too close," said one dumbfounded observer. "It could suck us all in."

At press time, the swirling void that was once Sudhir Gautam was seen to be gaining momentum as it moved across the post-Tendulkar country, causing havoc and uprooting lives along the way.

R Rajkumar tweets here.
All quotes and "facts" in this piece are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?