The last 2 weeks have been quite busy for Indian sports. First, the master left the scene, (un)arguably leaving a permanent void in cricket. The ‘experts’ who were always busy advocating that the master had become too old to play anymore, suddenly found themselves with nothing much to say or write about. But, they must have heaved a sort of a sigh of relief when they got an opportunity to train their guns on the chess legend who had to recently surrender his title to a newbie.
The biggest irony in India is that most of us actually got to know that Anand held the title of world championship for the last 6 years, only after he actually lost it ! Perhaps we will all claim that we definitely knew about Anand’s success all along these years but surely were’t quite excited about it. Afterall it is just chess; any Indian would anyday watch a 7 hr ODI than watch a 7 hr chess game involving some 50-odd moves. Then the question in front of us is why so much noise about Anand’s retirement. Chess doesn’t involve use of any physical strength. It is a game of minds and mental strength, which in all probability is not inversely proportional to age. If it had been, then India should have done much worse with the plethora of aging politicians accumulated in our country. I believe a Chess player must be like a wine or an automobile, getting better with age. Yet, many who don’t even know much about chess, except that it is played with white and black pieces on a 64-square board, have started expressing disappointment in Facebook messages, tweets, etc and writing open letters to Anand urging him to consider his next moves off the chess board. Anyway, how does it matter if Anand retires or not ? Is anybody going to stop following chess after Anand’s exit just like people say there is nothing left in cricket after Sachin and they would stop watching it ? Highly unlikely, as most of us any way don’t follow chess ! We should ideally leave Anand alone to contemplate over the last few days. I am sure he is mature enough to know when to call it a day and doesn’t require opinions from ‘experts’ like us.
Now, I would like to take a different angle to the captioned subject. Does anybody’s retirement really hurt as much as claimed ? Newspapers and channels had nothing to say other than Sachin’s retirement for the last 10 days. No thought was spared for the crores who don’t watch cricket with much enthusiasm these days. People firmly believed at that time that cricket has died. many considered it a national crisis. Yet, now the economics ‘Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility’ has prevailed. I don’t find even a single article talking about Sachin’s achievements. People have moved on, and so has cricket. People have already started talking about next potential legends in the pipeline. Although the emotions expressed in droves on the social media immediately after retirement were in no way false, it’s just that the hoopla created about retirement has met its natural death. The memories of legendary player will however remain with us forever. We all say that the next generations are unlucky to not being able to watch the legend play. But even we haven’t experienced great singers, actors, great fast bowlers who retired from the active scenes before we were grown enough to understand their performances. Did we miss them ? Not really, because others did fill in their shoes perhaps not entirely. Moreover, how can someone miss something he has never experienced or something which has been unknown to him. Our generation knows about performances of actors from earlier era through their songs and movies. But, how may of us have seen Gavaskar’s centuries or the wickets taken by the West Indian fast bowlers ?
Time moves on…
The point is retirement of a legend from any field is bound to create gaps. Institutions need to be aware that every person is bound to leave it, at some point or the other. Even our accounting principles separates the company as an entity from an individual, be it the founder or any shareholder. Efforts should be to get over the ‘temporary crisis’ and work towards rebuilding towards the future and not get emotionally overwhelmed by someone’s exit. Perhaps the individual himself can continue lend a helping hand to his institution through a more behind-the-scenes role. That would perhaps take a lot of courage on his part as the constant inner feeling that he would have done much better in his days that what the current set of players are capable of, needs to be controlled for overall betterment of the institution.