He was a run-making machine, an unstoppable force, every bowler's holy grail, every captain's nightmare, every aspiring cricketer's hero, and every Indian fan's God. To me, he was always mortal, and that is why he remains a beacon of hope during desperate times. His frame on my wallpaper reminds me everyday that there are no limits to what mortals like me can achieve.
Of course, cricket matches are seldom worth watching if he is not playing, but to me, he was always more than simply someone who made a game more exciting. He stood as a symbol of excellence and perfection, a constant reminder that no excellence or perfection can be achieved without the highest level of hard-work and perseverance no matter how talented you are. He taught me that it may take 22 years of discipline, and passion or more to achieve a life-long dream, but giving up today will ensure that that day will never come.
Even when I saw him play and slog on his out-of- form days, I did not see an aging man, but I did see the aging man struggle..I found inspiration that as mortals, we will have our bad days, and we have no option but to struggle through them. When I saw him practice hard before a Bangladesh or Kenya match, I only learnt that greatness comes to those who know not to take anything for granted. When he metes out silence to harsh critics and humility to intense praise, I know there will be another milestone that we will see him cross. For, no one can truly be that humble unless they do not meet their own standards. Just as it does not matter how ill people think of me, it should not matter how well they do either.
It is what we think of ourselves that can truly make us better than what we are.
It is not just the cover drive and the punch on the backfoot that I will never forget, it is everything that he is that have helped me be a better person.
I am certain that this will not be the last of my posts on him, just like the ones before this...