Retirements are agonizing. Like retirements, transitions are difficult too. They are extremely painful and require time to heal. But no one would ever regret it.
MS Dhoni is the first name that comes to mind when discussing closing acts and swansongs, with his retirement speeches traveling at over 400 kilometers per hour from Chennai to Ranchi, across India and beyond.
Will this be MS Dhoni’s final IPL encounter at Chepauk? Or will this be his final game in the IPL, etc.
MS, however, responds with a sly smile and replies so bluntly yet elegantly, as per usual.
“But, I still haven’t left behind”.
“You have determined it to be my last.”
“I have eight to nine months to decide; why take on this headache now?”
These have been MS Dhoni’s final words during CSK’s final games of each season for the past decade. Ten months later, it is the magician who weaves magic in a world of his own, and we simply strive to be a part of it.
Retirement on days dances to Mahi’s music and is adamantly opposed to a farewell kiss. It’s like telling the person you adore you’ll be there and then actually being there. The former provides solace, while the latter rescues.
There are certain aspects of existence that defy verbal description; love finds an answer.
But first, shall we comprehend what love is?
Isn’t everything about surrendering? If you adore, you let go. Thus, affection can be considered a sacrifice.
Then again, it could be a matter of making a promise and returning with the same vigor every year, as MS Dhoni does for Chennai Super Kings. Therefore, love could be a vow, and once made, a promise is kept.
You anticipate unconditional affection. This describes Dhoni’s passion for cricket. A relationship that is completely genuine. The old generation is still hopelessly in love with the game as if they were children.
People discuss love at first sight and related concepts, but no. Cricket was not the same without Dhoni. Together, they matured into something significant that brought peace to many broken souls.
An aspiring custodian who went on to keep wickets for India is a story in and of itself, wouldn’t you say? Therefore, we can conclude that relationships are not formed overnight but rather over time.
It all made sense when a sport that is a religion in a nation of over 1,4 billion people met a passionate young child. It made immediate logic. It was romance. It appeared to be a match made in paradise.
Dhoni’s life was filled with struggle, desperation, and failure, and there were times when he didn’t know what decisions to make. Cricket was there to support him.
Well, anyone can make decisions, but making prudent decisions is what matters, and Dhoni’s hand was grabbed by cricket at that moment.
It stood by him when a mob of Indian fans attacked his house in Ranchi following the 2007 ODI World Cup debacle, comforted him when a ticket collector at Kharagpur railway station felt his life was going nowhere, and cherished him when a youngster who dared to dream went on to accomplish incredible things for his country.
Dhoni has earned titles, trophies, hearts, and other accolades. But there comes a time in everyone’s existence when the harshness of reality and the dread of the unknown set in.
The human body is designed to endure only a limited quantity of pain and has a limited capacity for endurance. Dhoni may have been temporarily incapacitated, but he was never eliminated. But what motivates him to continue? Where does the motivation originate?
It comes from a voice deep within his large heart that persists even though it is almost deceased, implores its way back, and begs for another chance. If it had to be summed up in a single term, ‘love’ would smile from afar.
The freak from Ranchi still has that fire burning, even if it is only a small spark; he is the spark that drives a 41-year-old man to show up and behave like a 28-year-old wicketkeeper. After 20 overs, to pad up, walk directly in, and aggressively attack the opposition.
To put his body on the line at the age of 41, knowing it could potentially end his career in ways he would not want, demonstrates an unfathomable devotion to the sport.
Life consists entirely of going the extra mile. But can a price be placed on it? Can we quantify Dhoni’s passion for the game? Most likely not.
Cricket has been there for him when no one else has been. People can disappoint, but the sport you adore just doesn’t. It’s a highway with two lanes. As Dhoni is not prepared to retire, neither is cricket prepared to lose Mahi.
Why is the street two-way?
Because love is like uncorrodable steel, it continues until hearts are shattered because the hope of a happy ending triumphs over the pain and makes it worthwhile.
Nevertheless, regardless of how life unfolds, MS adores the sport, and people adore him for it. No matter how hard he works, how far he pushes himself, or how many boxes he checks, there will come a day when he will be told, “Sorry, today’s the day, mate,” and it will be over.
Why then should he race as if he’s vying for pole position on Saturday to determine his grid position on Sunday? Relax, fasten your seatbelt, and use cruise control to get to MS Dhoni’s retirement address.