Sachin Tendulkar - The Unseen Face


The disappointment and pain that accompanies the collapse of a beautiful image is more often than not, excruciating. And when the image is one that has endured longer than most, inasmuch as to be considered infallible, the fall is harder to digest. And when the image is worshipped by millions, the mere suggestion of fallibility is sacrilegious.

In India, the image of Sachin Tendulkar is nothing short of Godly, and yet I am at pains to point out a few chinks in that apparently blemishless image for the sake of the great game that is cricket, and for the sake of its fervent supporters.

These days, the newspapers and the electronic media are full of Sachin's achievements and his "greatness", some going even to the extent of raising him to the level of the greatest personalities that India as a country has seen through the ages. Yet, many have seen and felt, albeit without expressing their feelings for fear of blaspheming the painstakingly created, larger-than-life persona that Sachin Tendulkar is, that Sachin is no superhuman. He is equally vulnerable to all the vices of humanity as we all are. He is equally obsessed with fame and popularity as every celebrity is. He would be committing an act of mendacity if he claimed to be unconcerned about his batting average or his tally of centuries. All these are perfectly human and perfectly acceptable qualities, except when these ambitions and aspirations rise higher than the collective goal of the team and the country, in which case the very character of these attributes becomes obnoxious.

I have seen Sachin to be very possessive about landmarks, so much so that he can bat ten times longer for one run when he is close to one than when away from it. I have seen him comment unfavorably about one captain's decision to declare the innings when he was on the verge of another landmark. This time I have seen him protecting his wicket at the expense of the team's prestige and morale. The fact wouldn't have deserved any mention had it not been so visibly invidious and selfish. Even Graeme Smith, the opposing captain was surprised by Sachin's deliberate attempts to get away from the strike when the team needed him to be at the crease as much as possible so as to avoid at least an innings defeat, if not delay proceedings as much as possible until weather intervened. The way in which he stole singles and allowed the number eleven batsman to face the major part of every over bowled by the South African pacers reeked of suspicious intent, to say the least, to save his wicket and, in the process, sacrifice the interests of the team and the country at the altar of his ambitions.

What pains most is the fact that Sachin has had the chance to be the perfect role model for the generations to come. He has the perfect balance of skill and temperament to ensure a place in the sun without resorting to any tactics that may mar his image irreparably. Yet, his actions on the field are transparent enough to belie any of his statements of modesty off the field, and has lowered his stature in the eyes of many more fans like me.

Role models are expected to be perfect, and perfection is but a non-existent attribute in today's world. And, now we know, though many would be loth to admit, that Sachin Tendulkar cannot expected to be an exception to the fact.

Akshaya Patra - A Noble Initiative


It is an undeniable fact that Nobility is an exalted attribute, and that everybody would like to be classified amongst the noble. Yet, the chasm that separates the practitioners and preachers of this enviable virtue is a wide one, and very few can lay claim to have crossed it.

Notwithstanding the abundance of apathy that abounds everywhere, there are still a select few that have put service above self and are rendering a Godly service to humanity. Akshaya Patra, an organization for the care of poor and underprivileged children, is indeed an instance of human selflessness and nobility. I have often felt pangs of empathy at the plight of children in dire need of nutrition, education and love, and have often had to turn my eyes, my ears and my mind away from these issues in my helplessness to fight them. So, when I see how organizations such as Akshaya Patra have volunteered to give themselves up for a cause that would help uplift the lives of thousands of impoverished and underprivileged children, I am overwhelmed with a poignant sense of admiration and pleasure.

Organizations such as Akshaya Patra should be helped to proliferate and grow, because they are the few centers of goodness, empathy, care and love that still survive in spite of all the coldness around. They help nurture and educate the future of the world, and help spread the message of kindness and unselfishness. Any praise for such an endeavor can never be overstated.

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