Many happy returns Sachin Tendulkar on turning 42. There was a huge temptation to turn this into another stats-driven piece on you; for a few minutes we even looked up the relevance of the number 42 in your career.
Then, instead of searching for patterns and clutching at stuff such as 42 reversed is 24 (your birth date as well as the length of your career), we took a call to celebrate you without the trapping of numbers because there have been a zillion – from us and others – and there will be a zillion more.
You are family – you did not exactly have a say in this one – and may have moved on after November 16, 2013, but many among us have not.
Since living in denial will not help, we found a way out. At times, we pull you into live coverage of India’s matches and the reception is rousing from readers.
For instance, the one below from a fan we have not met.
The spellings are a bit awry and it is before Mohit Sharma replaced Ishant Sharma, but the fan would have managed to have you in the 2015 World Cup team in spirit no matter what combinations the selectors threw up.
The “Sachin, Sachin” chants that greeted you at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi on Thursday only reinforced your rule in the heart of fans.
The really young ones may swear by Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and others, but they really don’t have a choice if their parents wear you on their sleeves.
We went through your ‘Playing It My Way’ this year. For a lot of us, the heroes are your mother and father. They let you be. Trust some parents among us when we say we are scared to look past the safety net and let our 11-year-olds or teens spread their wings.
So, instead of numbers, we choose to walk down memory lane with pictures. Have a fabulous 42nd maestro.