What should someone do after calling it quits from doing something that has been a part of his life since the age of eleven? The answer to this question becomes even more difficult if the person is Sachin Tendulkar - an entertainer and an artist who has enthralled over a billion people for the last 24 years.
Once he decided on which will be his last innings, and where, guesswork about what will the master opt for after hanging his boots started in every nook and corner. While some former players said he should coach youngsters, others wanted him to put his expertise to use as a commentator. Some sports enthusiasts also see him devoting more time in the Rajya Sabha, where he was elected in 2012. Their logic is, being a sportsperson, Tendulkar will be able to draft important policies that can change the way sports are being run in the country. The rest, like us, just want him to spend more time with his family as majority of his last 24 years were spent travelling with the Indian team.
While Tendulkar has the option of doing all the aforementioned, what exactly will he be doing? Will it at all be possible for him to pull himself away from the reality that he will no longer walk into a competitive field holding a cricket bat, smack the best bowlers in the world and take India to many memorable victories?
Tendulkar himself described how painful the transition would be when he informed, through a mail to the BCCI, that he would be quitting after his 200th Test. "All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India. I have been living this dream every day for the last 24 years," he had said.
He has already been showered with innumerable gifts, and many more will follow during and after his final match. But once the reality sinks in and he finally sets himself up for a different innings, Tendulkar will be better able to focus on what he wants to do post retirement. His heart has beaten for only one thing - representing India, something which he showed in his last innings by wielding a willow that had Tricolour all over it.
He carried the national flag in his kit and also sported it on his helmet throughout his career. That perhaps gives you an indication that he would want to continue contributing in a way that the country benefits - be it cricket, in the Rajya Sabha or in any other way.
As fans, what we can do is at least not burden him with expectations anymore. He has been a champion and will continue to remain so irrespective of what he does as an 'ex-cricketer'.