If the great man had sat down to write a letter to his fans, reflecting on his life, it might have read something like this
Tendulkar was the biggest worshipper the game could ever find, and in that lay the foundation of his greatness
In the last 24 years, amid the records and runs and the chanting, Tendulkar's invisible footprints in the game have acted as markers on the road best travelled in pursuit of all manner of careers. Consistency of performance outlives everything else. On tough days, never give up. Shake hands. Share. The trade over the tricks. It works every time
Would playing another sport have revealed the "real" Sachin to us? For the answer, we have to turn our gaze inwards. Towards us. To our insolent impatience, our speed of dismissiveness, our propensity to fawn, our alacrity to scorn, our delusion in claiming greatness through our idols.
The show is over. The final episode has ended. The music has faded. The credits have rolled. Done with the presentation. Done with the speech to trump all farewell speeches. Now all we have are the memories. All we have are the stories
Tendulkar has become a national symbol of optimism and pride but when he bats, we still see him as an underdog
In some ways, we know less about him now than before. The more he has played, the more godlike and inscrutable he has become
Eager administrators, grateful artists, and irate fans: a peek into a one-man industrial complex
Though he's celebrated worldwide for his batting, Tendulkar was a canny bowler who could give his team breakthroughs with his medium pace and spin bowling, taking 46 wickets in Tests and 154 in ODIs. Here, ESPNcricinfo staffers pick their favourite memory of his bowling. What's yours?
Pressure attached itself to Tendulkar right from when he first started playing international cricket. So naturally the quest for his maiden Test hundred was followed with a large amount of interest, speculation and criticism. A member of the Indian press pack on the 1990 England tour recalls how the first brick in a historic era was laid
During the 2011 World Cup, it was as if the spectators in each city instinctively knew that they were departing from an annual tradition of seeing Tendulkar in the flesh. That did not turn out to be correct, but to now think of those days is to know that we were witnessing the last of Tendulkar's greatness, just before it began slipping away from him
Tendulkar's opponents are his fans too. Here, two young Haryana players talk about what it was like to bowl to him and talk to him during their Ranji game in Lahli
Tendulkar made his first-class debut in the 1988-89 domestic season but by then he was already blazing a trail in the Mumbai club circuit on spiteful pitches, against men twice his age. ESPNcricinfo speaks to a few men who saw a baby-faced Tendulkar announce himself
Tendulkar does not get distracted by conscious thought, by ambition, by hope, by despair. He just plays the ball. Whether he hits it for four, whether he plays or misses, it's all one to him
It's safe to assume that no cricketer has been scrutinised as much as Tendulkar. And it's also possible that no other sporting great has been as reticent. A veteran journalist who has known Tendulkar for over 25 years talks about the man behind the public persona
It will be hard to think of a shot that Tendulkar hasn't played in his 24-year international career. He has punched, driven, carved, swept, slashed and pulled with varying degrees of imagination. And he's done so much more. Here ESPNcricinfo staffers pick their favourite Tendulkar shots
The passing of a legend must be accompanied by a paean. Here's one that you can recite on that final day at the Wankhede
With Sachin Tendulkar's retirement, India's golden age of middle-order batting comes to an end. VVS Laxman, his partner in many memorable stands at home and abroad, remembers batting with Tendulkar and admiring all that he could do with his skills
Tendulkar's team-mates know well how much he loves a contest, even in the nets. Here, his former Mumbai and India colleague recalls some of his breathtaking innings that didn't feature on television
It's hard to imagine a sportsperson, certainly any other cricketer, who has shared as profound an emotional bond with such a large number of fans. Some invoke reverence, some inspire awe, some draw affection. Tendulkar found adoration and worship in equal measure. ESPNcricinfo's editor talks about out why the Farewell Tendulkar microsite is as much about you as it is about Tendulkar
The retirement announcement
In the time Tendulkar has played for India, we've all grown up, grown old, but never grown apart from cricket. Throughout his career, Tendulkar has kept reaffirming the faith and belief that no matter what, there was much in cricket that could be uplifting, exceptional, clean.
Today, at the end of his career, we celebrate the phenomenon he is. But back in 2006, when Tendulkar was struggling for runs, dealing with injuries and being booed on his home ground, he was stoic and accepting about a future that didn't look as rosy as the past had done
The first 15 years
In this 2004 interview, Tendulkar speaks about his decade and a half in cricket and how the game, and his approach to it, have changed. "I used to think like Sehwag," he says, "But with time you change."
Like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, Sachin Tendulkar dominates his sport comprehensively, but unlike them he is the sole focus of an entire nation and its quest for identity