I see the social networking sites overflowing with ThankYou Sachin status messages, I see the madness surrounding the last two test matches (incidentally, one in my home town and the other in his :) ), I see friends celebrating his accomplishments as their own, I see people crying at the news of his retirement, I see the on-field crowd stunned into silence and then erupting in a roar of applause and cheers after the final innings, and my heart warms. How lucky he is to be loved and respected by millions, I wonder! And then I think, how incredibly lucky we are to have him.
I have never idolized or worshiped him the way most Indians have. I have not sat glued to the television everytime he played. I shall not be able to recall how many runs he scored or how many wickets he took on that final day of that particular match in that year (as my brother can, with ease). I do not know his career statistics by heart. I have had infinite arguments with the brother and a Ponting-fanatic to decide if he was indeed the greatest. But I do know that he has re-defined Cricket for us Indians. I do know that the guy is perfectly capable of creating miracles on the field. I do know that I always thought nothing bad could happen to India if he was around. And ofcourse, I do know that we share 'almost' the same birthday! :)
So while I can hardly take part in the mania that has engulfed the country right now, I can sit in my office and silently thank him for everything he has done for us till date. And all I can tell him is that you make us proud, very very proud.
Take a bow Little Master. You'll be missed :(
p.s. I share with you my most favourite picture of him. Lifted by the team mates, The Tricolor in hand, and The Night when we conquered the world. Perfect, isn't it? :)