I recently told a very dear friend that watching India play lacked a certain je ne sais quoi now that one Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was not spotted as often as I (and any other rational human being) like. With the end so near, nostalgia and helplessness engulf me. like. His response was less than ideal, sardonic even. He said that I was 'an imbecile of the first order' who was 'so delusional that you can't even see wishful thinking in the rear view mirror'. Harsh, you say Uncalled for, you say. I too was of the opinion that what this world needed was fewer and better people of that sort. He was speaking from a purely cricketing point of view. I suppose I can see his point, although I don't really want to. There're cricketing opinions and there're decisions based solely on emotion and nostalgia. This was decidedly one that belonged to the latter school of thought. Sachin Tendulkar. That name evokes awe, wonder and amazement. Most of all, it is a great appreciation. An outpouring of love, a unifying force. The one thing every Indian cricket fan, nay, every Indian has in common is a feeling that reverberates throughout, whenever he is batting. They may as well be chanting 'Sachin! Sachin! Sachin!' in our watch minds to go with the customary stadium chants. Idea recently did a campaign where they sought to show that Idea is one thing that unites India. I beg to differ. 'How much did Sachin get' is a conversational ice-breaker anywhere in the country. For those of us that missed the live action, it is a necessity. A' batting on 40' and 'batting on 80' means more to me than an 'out for 100', for I still get to see him bat. Not to say that I don't enjoy a Tendulkar century, it is an initiation every cricket fan should undergo. I don't want to talk about his records; they're a by-product of his ability, testament to his hard work and should be nothing more than a footnote while discussing him. 'Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest ever just look at his record' God no. Just watch him bat. The expectation as the bowler runs in, the anticipation and more often than not, the sweet sound of bat hitting ball. I remember a sequence against Brett Lee in early 2008; Lee was charging in and bowling at a lively pace. This delivery was quicker than usual, it must have come in at 150 clicks, and Tendulkar hit it back at about 180. The next ball, he played a textbook front-foot defence. No excess, just what was required. I never saw 'Desert Storm' live, I was all of 3 when it happened. I saw it eventually, but highlights are one thing and getting caught up in the moment is quite another. My favourite Tendulkar knock? 175 against Australia at Hyderabad. Not the double century, not the centuries in the 2011 World Cup, not the 165* against New Zealand. It had to be against Australia, an almost impossible chase with little or no support from the rest of the team. One man rose above and played a dazzling innings. I remember that he started sedately before breaking loose in spectacular style, depositing Nathan Hauritz over the boundary a number of times. I remember the hope I felt every time he was on strike, the wonder at the shots he played, the annoyance I felt when nobody supported him, the harsh disappointment when he fell to Clint McKay and the bitterness I felt when we finally lost. A bevy of contrasting emotions, but isn't that what watching Sachin Tendulkar bat is about? He has a presence at the crease, not obnoxiousness or arrogance, but a quiet authority about him. He takes control, meticulously. The flick of his pads to get off the mark, scampering between the wickets, the cheeky sweeps, the drives, and best of all, the back-foot punches. Ah, those back-foot punches are something else. These are a few of my favourite things. Watching Sachin Tendulkar bat is an experience, its more than the runs he scores, it's the overriding emotion. You transcend the physical world and enter the purest realm of cricket. Greatest batsman ever? Probably. A symbol of hope and a beacon of joy? Definitely. Call me delusional, say I'm living in the past, and proclaim that I'm irrational. I don't care. Give me Tendulkar, and more I shall not ask.