Sachin Tendulkar's fans in India and around the world had bid the Master Blaster a farewell with tears in their eyes, but had one question haunting playing on their minds -- what now?
The speculation about his intention and plans after retirement lingers on. Should he continue endorsing brands? Is it OK for him as a national icon to endorse brands in the first place? Being a member of Parliament, will he start participating in active politics?
These questions inevitably cropped up on the second day of the Taj Literature Festival in Agra during a session named Is the Sachin mania for real?
Vikas Singh, resident editor of The Times of India's Delhi edition, said that Tendulkar never let his endorsements get in the way of his cricket. He understood that he was getting those endorsements because of his game and realised that he can't compromise on that, Singh said.
Suresh Menon, editor of Wisden India Almanack, added that this was something the Master Blaster had said in an interview when he was only 17, and credited him for his maturity at that young age.
Menon said that using the title 'god of cricket' to describe Tendulkar is an exaggeration and was coined by one person and it just caught on. He also said that the Master Blaster should have hung his boots long time ago as he was already "finished in 2011."
The focus then slowly shifted to the larger picture and the changes that have been apparent in Indian cricket -- since the time Sunil Gavaskar ruled on the field to Virat Kohli who is seen as one of the bearers of Tendulkar's legacy.
According to Singh, there has been a major shift in the attitude of players on the pitch.
Gavaskar was of the generation in which there was a lack of confidence in the field and his attitude echoed the feeling of 'I must end the game in a draw in order to save the match', Singh opined.
Tendulkar's attitude was more confident and he wanted to conquer the world. But he didn't fly high in the air and was very modest and polite and his story is indeed a 'meritocracy story,' he added.
Post his retirement, Singh said the cricketer of this generation to look for is Virat Kohli. However, he is weary of Kohli's attitude which reflects the 'trashiness of the new India.'
The discussion then inevitably moved to Tendulkar getting the Bharat Ratna towards the end of the session.
Menon was of the opinion that Viswanathan Anand deserved it more at that point in time saying "Sachin deserved it, but perhaps a little later."
However, he went on to say that giving the Bharat Ratna to Tendulkar has brought more credit to the award.