Over the past few days, one picture with close up shot of Sehwag, Laxman, Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar (in that order) floated on the Facebook/ Twitter timelines a lot. What was more interesting was the tag line it had, ‘My childhood is now officially over’. That line and that picture brought back memories.. of Sharjah, of Natwest, of 2003 World cup, of Pakistan series and a lot more. When someone says it officially ended, they’re hinting that its just a formal ending and the logical ending happened long back. The logical ending was realizing Sachin and Sehwag are not going to open the innings, realizing Ganguly wont be heading for the toss, realizing Dravid won’t be coming at number 3 to rescue the team for the umpteenth time like he always does. Childhood began to end when Ganguly decided to wave good bye. Now its the ending of the ending.
I am a 90’s kid. Cricket wasn’t a sport for the 90’s kids. It was like a routine, a natural part of living. Parents used to teach the basics of cricket just like they teach to write or to ride a bicycle. But parents romanticized the 70’s West Indies or the 80’s Australia, By the 90’s It was a just a sport to them. When we were being introduced to cricket, Sachin was doing his thing in Sharjah. If that’s the first image of the sport anyone sees, they’re sure going to be hooked to it, forever. We did get hooked of course. It definitely was not going to be just a sport after that. High school is when you graduate enough to discuss cricket with friends. We discussed more about Sachin, Dravid than Math or science. Sachin was our Math, Dravid was our science. It wasn’t intelligent stuff, not even close. It was pure Infatuation, with Sachin’s cover drive or Dravid’s square cut or Ganguly’s front foot inside out shot or Sehwag’s sixers over third man. We didn’t even know how those shots were played, even we learnt the names of those later. We just liked looking at them. Cricket was the only sport we played during the hours we weren’t made to sit in a classroom. Sportstar was our Economic times and Livemint. That was a phase. A phase were I loved just watching cricket. Not analyzing it. Just stare at my heroes like staring at a magnificent sculpture or a calm sunset.
I still do watch cricket. Its neither calm nor like a sunset anymore. There are so many variables now apart from my AVP expecting me to come back to work from cafeteria. I am not in it to just watch, I turned greedy. I want Kohli to score a century, I want Dhoni to not waste balls, I want Ashwin to be economical. Childhood me would’ve wanted to just watch Kohli’s pull shot or Dhoni striking the ball hard or Ashwin to just turn the ball and hit the off stump. Its like infatuation turned to love in the late 2000s and now to post marriage life in mid 2010s. Everything appeared special when it started and then I started analyzing each innings and finally now finding small mistakes my cricketers make. Heroes have turned cricketers now.
Every small reference to the cricket of early 2000s reminds me of my infatuation years. The retirements of Zak and Viru did the same. It evoked a lot of memories. I Can never forget Viru going for the sixer when he was on 295. Me being a left hander, It was always Zak’s bowling action I wanted try every day. Viru and Zak represent the last of the cricketers from the infatuation phase. Yuvi might retire soon and then Dhoni too maybe in a few years. But they belong to the love years. It’ll hurt but may not be as much. Because the childhood was different, It was magical. With these retirements it reminded me that my childhood was over. It was amazing while I was living them. Watching the highlights or reading about those matches once in a while will remind them again.But.. The visuals are still pretty clear. The visuals of Sachin in Sharjah, of Dravid in Adelaide, of Sehwag in Multan, of Laxman in Kolkata, of Sourav in Natwest. The visuals have never faded away, letting me know that the childhood actually is still with me, in my memories.
How better to end my post than to actually post the picture we started the post with
My childhood is now officially over. It’s just in the memories now.