Friday, November 1, 2013

Thanks for all the memories

Forget about the hundred hundreds, forget about the 30000 odd runs, forget about the 200 tests, forget all the records notched up, forget the painful journey of the last year or two. What is more important to me are the memories of a lifetime, for which I am eternally grateful. 

Thanks for the straight drive, thanks for the backup punch to the cover fence, thanks for the short arm pull, thanks for the paddle sweep, thanks for the upper cut to the fastest of deliveries (at your height it seems even more unbelievable), thanks for the cover drives (you were born to drive weren't you), thanks for the flicks, the lofted shots in the first phase of your career, thanks for the moments when I waited for you to approach the crease, the crowd going crazy at the fall of a wicket of their own (which probably would have happened to Bradman alone, if at all), above all thanks for the moments when you stood with your ever subtly changing back-lift, ramrod straight, while the bowler ran up to you, a modern day hero ready with this Excalibur to slay the demons, shirt fluttering in the wind, the hopes of a nation resting on you, my mind tense, anxious and excited all at the same time at what was going to happen now, the closest I have to come anytime to offering a really heartfelt prayer to whoever would/could be listening. 

PS1: For someone who was supposedly vulnerable to fast bowling, particularly the in-swinger, who apparently didn't play left arm/off spin well, didn't hook well, drove in an uppish manner, you didn't do badly. Any other cricketer would sell his soul to the devil to get the talent you had and achieve what you did.

PS2: This is an unabashedly subjective fan post (one among millions and with nothing special or new to say) because I have failed over the past 20 odd days to process the news that I wouldn't be seeing you in a cricket field after November. This is another attempt at a catharsis. I am still numb, as numb as I was on that day when I learnt the news, so numb that Alice Munro (a writer whom I cherish) winning the prize on the same day was/is still a blur to me. The word bittersweet day has never sounded so true to me. And to think that cricket has been a second fiddle to reading for me, for once the artist has towered over the art. To paraphrase (badly I accept, for alas I am not a wordsmith) from the ending of Gabo's 'The General in his Labyrinth', the last 2 tests are an opportunity to view the final brilliance of a career/talent, that would never, through all eternity, be repeated again.

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