Kanpur Dehat. When Sachin Tendulkar hit his maiden T20 hundred last week, the entire nation erupted in joy. News channels were flooded with programs depicting the greatness of the God man and those programs continue to be run today on the little master’s 38th birthday, even though Sachin himself is not celebrating it due to the death of Sathya Sai Baba.
But as it turns out, not every Indian is happy to see Sachin Tendulkar continuing to sit on a cloud of runs with the rainbow of records around his shoulders for the last twenty-two years. Chiraunji Lal, an LIC agent in Kanpur and a cricket fan, is one of them.
“A cricket match has always been like a festival for my family right from the All India Radio days. My babuji used to narrate to me the chronicles of the legendary Sunil Gavaskar during every ongoing match, long after his retirement from cricket; I was only ten then,” Chiraunji recalls, “Captivated by his narrative, I used to secretly wish that one day even I will tell my son such tales of Tendulkar as he was the hero of my generation.”
Chiraunji pauses to mix up his khaini in his palm and continues, “But sirji, 22 years have gone by and I don’t see any chance of Sachin retiring in the near future. I have completely given up that dream for my eldest son, who, if the neighboring gossipmongers are to be believed, is about to become a father himself.”
Neighbors tell Chiraunji to keep the faith as his youngest son Chunnu is just three years old, but the ageing LIC agent is not too sure, “He (Tendulkar) only seems to get younger! Chunnu already has a sticker of Sachin on his tiffin-box.”
“I think I will take that wish with me to my grave,” Chiraunji rues.
Meva Devi, Chiraunji’s wife, interrupts with a concerned voice, “I am very worried about my husband. This crazy wish of his is affecting his health in a very severe way. For instance, last year when Sachin became the first man to score a double hundred in ODIs, my husband became the youngest in the village to suffer a heart-attack.”
Meva, who originally hails from Bardhman in West Bengal, has been trying to convince Chiraunji to tell Chunnu the tales of Sourav Ganguly.
(reported by Ankur Nigam)