Sachin Tendulkar’s career had been overwhelming and so too was the deluge of tributes.
Here’s my (far from comprehensive) selection of favourites.
Rohit Brijnath wrote as only he can. If you were fortunate enough to live in Singapore, (or were a subscriber of the Straits Times), you’d have read a lot more than the ones that finally made it to the wider world outside. At first, there was The Patriotic Pandemonium of Sachin Tendulkar at the time of the announcement of Tendulkar’s retirement. This was on the 15th of October, more than a month before the day it all ended. Read the first line of the piece a few times before going further – “WILL he make a speech, this retiring Sachin Tendulkar, in his home city of Mumbai in November during his last Test and is it the closest we’ll come to a nation crying?“.
Then the long form Genius in Residence at Livemint, as much a letter of gratitude as a tribute. Finally, the day after it all ended, he captured the emotion of the last day of the Tendulkar career.
Rahul Bhattacharya had written Man-child Superstar on the occasion of Sachin’s 20 years in international cricket, among my favourite Sachin pieces. Here, he wrote Among the believers, a writing masterpiece where every line was superbly crafted, the article ultimately using Sachin’s last Ranji innings in Lahli as an allegory of the Sachin Tendulkar experience. Brilliant.
Gideon Haigh wrote on the inspiring greatness of Sachin Tendulkar.
Steve Tignor wrote On Gods and Humans which spoke of a vicarious respect for the legend of Sachin Tendulkar and the desire to savor the fading genius of Roger Federer.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan‘s earlier tributes to Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman had both been achingly brilliant. At the time of Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI retirement, he wrote this piece which eerily, beautifully painted our lives alongside the Tendulkar One-day career. Here, at the end of the Test career, he wrote two wonderful pieces : In The grand piano has left the building, published on Cricinfo, he told us of how everybody had a Tendulkar story ; In When He Walks Out to the Middle, he deconstructed the experience of a Tendulkar innings, a piece stunning in its execution and brilliant in its end.
The Wisden India Extra had an Issue called The Sachin Sunset. It has some fine pieces by Dileep Premachandran, Saurabh Somani, Shashi Tharoor and a host of others, but my favourite was the one by Supriya Nair (on Page 18).
The Cricinfo coverage was comprehensive and had much to look forward to – with Andy Zaltzman‘s stats and pieces a huge personal favourite. However, nothing quite matched the evocative brilliance of Sidharth Monga’s Notes from Kolkata’s Sachin Festival – a beautiful piece on how everywhere Sachin Tendulkar went, he took the weather with him. Later, came an eloquent Sharda Ugra piece on the love, drive, discipline and balance of Sachin Tendulkar. Rob Steen wrote like Rob Steen, and Sachin Tendulkar. And of course, there was Sambit Bal talking about Cricket’s love for Sachin.
Deepak Narayanan had written at the time of the announcement, asking – When do you think it will sink in? Still resonates…
Mahesh Sethuraman wrote on the infinite posterity value of Sachin Tendulkar.
In two intensely personal pieces, Subash Jayaraman wrote about this trip to the last test and the significance of that journey, while Sriram Dayanand wrote a deeply poignant, intensely moving tribute to the eternal relevance of the Sachin experience.
Outside of the written words, there were a few other important things :
The Youtube video tribute series by Harsha Bhogle. There are 5 videos in the series. This is a link to the first one – you can take it onward from there.
Rahul Dravid’s interview with CNN-IBN on the Sachin legacy, where he displays the kind of humility which can only come from complete self-belief.
And finally, my favourite work. So often, we complain of the lack of sporting museums in India. I think the sheer effort that must have gone into the colossus of the digital museum which it is, makes the Sachin Memory Project by Star Sports, perhaps the best media tribute to the great career.
(more suggestions – and feedback welcome)
My piece – here.