Is Sachin Tendulkar human? Does he feel the pressure each time he steps across the rope and looks into the sun? Does he feel the weight of expectations when he holds his bat in his hands and stretches his sinew?
Does he hear the prayers of the devout as he takes guard? Does the heart pound harder knowing that some wise guy in a box upstairs has just earned his bread by uttering “Cometh the hour, cometh the man” into his mike?
Does his hair stand on end as they come at him, fast and furious? Do fear and anxiety do a tandav in his mind when another target looms, when defeat and disgrace lurk round the corner? Do his ears ever feel warmer?
Is Sachin Tendulkar human? Does he feel strange at having graduated to adulthood without going through adolescence? At not having bunked classes, at not having gotten sloshed, at not having gone through the rites of passage?
Does he feel stifled at not being able to lead a ‘normal life’? At not being able to go to a bar or a movie with his wife and kids, without being watched, without being judged? Does he stay so long at the wicket because the world is an unsafe place?
Does he get bored of having his decency and decorum, his dedication and determination, judged all the time? Of being reminded time and time again that he is such a “wonderful ambassador of the game”? Does he just feel like letting go sometimes?
Is Sachin Tendulkar human? Does he feel the pressure of not having put a foot wrong since childhood? At having lived his life and earned his bread in full public gaze? Of not having practised his countrymen’s chalta hai credo?
Does the back, do the bones, say no sometimes? Does he get tired of having to do it in match after match, in city after city? Does he feel like putting his feet up and taking it easy sometimes?
If Sachin Tendulkar really is like the rest of us, if he really is one of us, if he really is human, why doesn’t he show us sometimes, so that we can be reassured?
Krishna Prasad, Editor, Outlook