A year after retirement, Tendulkar flips through the album

These days even Sachin Tendulkar types ‘Sachin Tendulkar + Sharjah’ when his relaxed mind, looking to kill time, comes across a blank google search page. On some days he also wakes up with no fixed plan, fixes breakfast for kids, invites friends over, visits their homes and sits by the bedside of ailing family elders.
Last November 16 he was with thousands at Wankhede, getting an emotional farewell that millions around the world watched at home on television. Exactly a year later, coincidentally again a weekend, he was at home waiting for son Arjun to return from his nets. The retired father wasn’t sure the budding cricketer would have the energy to have a knock with him in the backyard. Most days, he doesn’t.
It’s not that Tendulkar spends most evenings just waiting or that his once-constantly busy phone sleeps silently all day. The other day he was abroad on the book tour of his autobiography that has had a Rowlingsque opening. His former team-mates keep dialing his number for advice, some even drop in at his doorstep. There are also the calls he wishes he had avoided. The ones which cajole him to be a reality show judge or plead for a guest appearance in movies. A year after putting a full stop on the most-celebrated cricketing career, Tendulkar’s probably as big and as busy as he used to be but with the burden of batting, and expectation, offloaded, the superstar gets to be a regular guy more often.
So there are days when he opens google and types his own name. “Mostly it happens when I am about to go to sleep. I feel like watching my innings at Sharjah on my i-pad. I also see the 2003 World Cup knock against Pakistan and England.”
“Any other?” you ask. “The knock against South Africa at home in 2011 and a few innings in South Africa.”
This isn’t ego-surfing. The former Test player isn’t searching his name or mentions to take a result count. He is just a long-serving, freshly retired employee glancing back through albums of his one-time work place.
On the first anniversary of his crossing the boundary line for the one final time, Tendulkar confesses that for the last few days his mind has been wandering to that day at Wankhede. “Yes, I have been thinking of that day. Every player thinks how his retirement will be. I couldn’t have had it better. I always believe God has plans for you and the memories of that special day will always be with me.” He adds that the chants from stands that day still ring in his ears.

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