Our obsession with the 100th 100
कब बनेगा शतको का शतक?
(आज तक, 193 times since Feb’11)
Ever since end of February 2011 all of us have been waiting for Sachin to score that century. Personally I have been counting every run of his backwards from 100, from the 16 left against Pakistan at Mohali to the 27 left at Melbourne the wait for that perfect figure still continues. Throughout this time I have been through a multitude of feelings. I have been logical and appreciative of opposing bowlers at times; erratic and abusive to the bowlers, Dhoni and even Sharad Pawar at times; emotional and thinking about the century too much; nostalgic and thinking about classics from Perth to Chennai to Sharjah; a fool to neglect all the other action around him; a connoisseur of the game and loving every moment of the awesome test cricket which has been on offer this year and above all obsessed with him reaching his 100.
Reaching 100 is not just a milestone for Sachin, it just a manifestation of all our childhood dreams. We have been always chasing that 100, that perfect number. Ask a Father back in 90s and he would have told My kid should get 100 in Maths, बाकी अंग्रेजी वगेरा के नंबर कौन देखता है.
So the child would run behind that target, he would get a 25 on 25 in unit test, but that is like getting a 100 in Bangladesh or in a Ranji match. One needs a 100 in exams, so he would then get it in Half Yearly, only to hear Son, its still not the finals.
That kid would burn the midnight oil to get that 100, he would reach 97, 98, 99, but it was always the 100 which mattered. All along this time there were classmates doing brilliantly in multiple areas (like Kallis: scoring 100s and taking wickets), becoming excellent orators (like Dravid, Sanga, scoring 100s and winning hearts with their speeches), being naughty (like Ponting, scoring 100 and being that arrogant naughty brat in the class), becoming school leaders like Head Boy/Girl (like Kumble taking wickets and showing his leadership mettle both on and off the field, or like Ganguly, always leading from the front and scoring 100s too) and going around with pretty girls (like Warnie, one of the best bowler ever, and pretty smooth with girls too ).
But there was always that silent humble chap in the class trying to score a century in Maths (or maybe Physics, Chemistry, Biology, our quest for excellence never goes beyond the Science subjects). The entire set of teachers, kids, and parents just looked up to him to score that 100, and he was just expected to do that, where as the rest of the class was doing many other things. Many kids and parent idolized him as the perfect student, as millions around the world have idolized Sachin now, as the perfect student of the game.
The simple issue here is, for us Sachin is they way we have lived our life for over 22 years, beyond his 100th 100 there is nothing else left for us to chase. Some might say that we have reduced Sachin to a mere number, but its just the way we have been with him, we have just wanted him to score hundreds, hundred after hundred, without thinking about simple things like India’s victory, Sachin’s happiness, and just Cricket.
For me the attempt to give him Bharat Ratna is nothing different from the Scholar Blazers/Markers Cup/CBSE Merit Certificate (just stamping our approval of his perfection)
I wish everyone leaves Sachin to his own, like Dravid leaving the cricket ball. The wicketkeeper (read the ghost of that 100th 100) would be there to catch him, but Sachin for sure knows his way around.
Even the perfect student wanted to participate in debates, become the School Captain or talk to girl sometimes .