Mumbaikars did not need an alarm clock on Friday. Waking up with "Sachin Sachin..." still ringing in their ears, all roads lead to the Wankhede Stadium as fans pray for a Sachin Tendulkar century in his final innings in Test cricket.
Against the West Indies in the Master Blaster's 200th Test, India are at 157/2, a mere 25 runs behind the visitors' first innings total of 182. Sachin is batting on a sublime 38 with Cheteshwar Pujara - who had the best seat in the house last evening - on a composed 34.
Two young fans were sporting a T-shirt each that said 'God never retires' at the stadium last evening. On Friday, a billion others will be holding the same sentiment with Sachin at the crease as each run from the Master's blade is cheered.
Sachin walked out yesterday to a thunderous applause at Wankhede, something never seen before at a cricket ground. A capacity crowd of 32,000 were on their feet for all 73 balls of his innings last evening, a stage reminiscent of the Maracana in Rio or the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund. More of the same is expected today.
There was a bit of chaos at the Wankhede Stadium this morning, but it's the kind of chaos one expects when a champion plays his last match. Crowds arrived early to find the best seats in the house with faces painted, Mohawks sported and voices prepped.
The anticipation is such that President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, too is on his way to Mumbai the catch a glimpse of Sachin. Rahul Gandhi may arrive as well.
Ironically it was on this day in 1989, that a 16-year-old baby-faced Sachin made his debut against Pakistan. He was dismissed for 15 in the only innings he batted, but made an impact against a fearsome Pakistan attack as later expressed by Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.
Sachin was playing some of the best shots in the book on Friday. The cover drives were exquisite but THAT shot, THAT straight-drive was the one. His eyes lit up as Darren Sammy pitched up a delivery and Sachin punched it past mid-on for four. If Sachin is in a similar mood, 101 may from here on refer to Tendulkar's tons as opposed Dalmatians.
Productivity at workplaces may not be at the highest on Friday morning in India. But as cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle puts it, "If you can't come to the stadium, watch it on TV. But make sure you watch it!"