Melbourne: You spend months wanting this one article, saving up for it. All the while you keep gazing at it through the shop window on your way home. On some days you feel bold, and enter the store with whatever money you have. Sometimes the shopkeeper ridicules you, on other days he respects your spirit, pats your back and asks you to try another time. On a few occasions, you get into ugly arguments, you even find out the guy has brought the price down for you but you still can't afford it. You go back depressed every time, but make sure you hide that product behind others so that nobody else buys it.
Before giving up you decide to make one final bid. You think you have enough money this time. But while walking to the store looking confident, you see that other people have already bought the product. Your dream article, one you believe should have been yours first, is now not unique. Then you realise there is an end-of-the-year discount sign outside the store. Do you still want it, you ask yourself. Yes, you say before going ahead tentatively. But what if you still don't have enough money despite this big discount? Will that not break you?
It is hard to say if sportspeople think that way; whether they contemplate success and failure thus before embarking on a journey; if Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman had any such thoughts at all before they boarded the plane to Australia. This is their final trip to the country they have spent their lifetimes believing (and learning the hard way) is the toughest place to win Test matches. Let's leave a small window for exceptions and not say it is their final tour. India's next full tour to Australia is in December 2014, which makes it hard to imagine any of the three playing Tests here again; at least not all of them together.