Sachin Tendulkar walked out of the changing room and gestured to Sudhir Gautam to come up. Gautam is the thin, pale man with a shaven head and body covered in the Indian tri-colour. He is the man you would have seen recently with a miniature replica of the World Cup hanging atop his head. For at least half a decade now, Gautam has been Tendulkar's biggest fan, waving the Indian flag and blowing his conch shell at every venue Tendulkar plays. Today, Tendulkar decided to repay Gautam for his devotion.
No sooner than he realised Tendulkar was calling, Gautam jumped the electronic advertising hoarding and then skipped up the 30-odd stairs on to the corridor of India's changing room. All through his short journey he screamed in delight. Tendulkar shook hands with him, then embraced him and finally asked one of his team-mates to get the World Cup trophy. Zaheer Khan brought the cup outside with utmost care and held it tight. Gautam virtually snatched it out of the hands of the tournament's joint-highest wicket-taker. But Zaheer held on to the crown still. Eventually Gautam lifted the Cup with both hands as Zaheer let go. As soon as Gautam lifted the Cup and screamed "India", Tendulkar could not help but smile. He even clapped and was joined in appreciation by a few of his team-mates.
It was a day when the common man felt he was part of something special. A day when cherished dreams were realised !
It was a day the common man felt he was part of something special. A day when the common man thought he had achieved something remarkable. A day when cherished dreams were realised. The first Saturday of April 2011 will remain unforgettable for a generation of Indians. Even as Gautam became the envy of people like me, as he freely slipped in and out of the most sought after place in India, the team's dressing room, the players' families milled around, participating in the celebrations. Dhoni held his wife Sakshi close to him; Virender Sehwag hugged his wife Aarti and son Aryavir; Ashish Nehra's wife wore a replica of her husband's team shirt as she moved in and out of the dressing room. Gary Kirsten's wife Deborah joined the rest later. Yuvraj Singh, returning from the media conference, started shaking his leg as he entered the dressing room. On his way inside, he had let out a screeching noise of jubilation.
The tempo in the dressing room had remained positive through the day and by the time Dhoni hit a spectacular six over long-on against Nuwan Kulasekara, it had become a well of joy. As soon as Tendulkar found a private moment with his wife, Anjali, he embraced her tightly. It was a poignant moment. He knew how much she had sacrificed to support him. On the field, during the victory celebrations, he had hugged Yuvraj, the man of the World Cup and buried his head into the allrounder's broad shoulders. Yuvraj had already declared he had dedicated the victory to Tendulkar. Virat Kohli had delivered the line of the evening when he said that for 21 years Tendulkar had shouldered the dreams of a billion Indians. Today youngsters such as Kohli and Suresh Raina carried Tendulkar on their shoulders during the lap of honour. Tears came easily to Tendulkar then.
On my way to try and sneak in to the team hotel (a ultimately unsuccessful attempt), I passed a family of street dwellers - a husband, wife and two kids. All of them were fast asleep, immune to the sound around them. I wondered how they could do that. The answer lay in what the man was wearing - the blue India shirt. Perhaps he had slept in the hope that India would win the Cup. Perhaps he dreamt about it. When he wakes up, the dream will have been fulfilled. Tomorrow, all of India will wake up to a new feeling.
Article credit - Nagraj Gollapudi, Asstt. Eeditor at ESPNcricinfo
Update : I noticed a Facebook fan page of Sudhir Gautam (Choudhary), so if you want to get more of his updates, you may join him here - http://www.facebook.com/Sudhir.Sachin , and if anyone finds out a video where he was seen with Sachin please drop me a mail or leave a comment here with the link, I’d update and credit you too. Jai Hind!