New Delhi: 1926 to 2011 - the phenomenon of Sathya Sai Baba decided to leave the planet earth on Sunday. But the day, April 24, which until 7:40 a.m. was a birthday for the legend of Sachin Tendulkar, turned into a day of mourning for the batting legend as his spiritual Guru left him, probably with the message, "Keep'em enthralled."
Though not known for flashy celebrations, it was surely a special birthday for Sachin, with the World Cup trophy shining under his impregnable armour.
But a prayer for Sathya Sai Baba's speedy recovery was all on Sachin's lips. "I am praying for Shri Sathya Sai Baba's quick recovery. Hope everyone will join me in praying for his return to good health," tweeted the legend in apparent heartache on Saturday.
Ever since playing in the Sri Sathya Sai Unity Cup at Baba's behest, where Sachin led an India XI against World XI on 30th December 1997 at the Hill view Stadium in Puttaparthi, Sachin has been a regular visitor at his spiritual guide's home.
The Mumbaikar has since been a dyed-in-wool disciple of Sathya Sai Baba and often dropped by to meet his guide – who lived as the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi – for advice on major personal decisions.
In Hyderabad to play the IPL match against Deccan Chargers, the Mumbai Indians' skipper reportedly locked himself in his hotel room, with a 'Do not Disturb' placard describing his saddened state at the news of Sathya Sai Baba's death on Sunday.
Naturally, the cricket icon was shattered at the loss. For once, the game was the last thing on his mind, and birthday a clear disregard.
And while at first it seems Sathya Sai Baba chose a wrong day to leave, he probably thought otherwise, thinking, "There can't be a better day than when my favourite son Sachin was born. I'm there for him, always."