Subsequent to a pleasing round of Yoga and brisk walk, I was all set to proceed to the AIIMS for my quarterly heart check-up. When I was about to finish my restricted fat and oil-free breakfast, I decided to check the latest Beijing Olympics development from the DD Sports. In the process of sipping rather lukewarm milk tea, I faintly hear the word India. Attentively, I move closer to the TV and make an effort to confirm. I could’ nt. Ankoor too, was not very sure. While I gulp down my throat rest of the milk, it became apparent that one of the Indians was in the reckoning and that too seriously.
Soon it turned out to be the final of the 10 Metre Air Rifle contest for the men. Vaguely again I managed to hear the name Bindra. But thanks to the slip shod telecast, his image or live shot would not be shown. Within a spur of moment, all three of us not only became curious but began showing a certain degree of anxiety, if not concern. Each time we tried to locate our Bindra, he would not be visible. Whichever Chinese or western shooter would be shown, he would not be shown hitting the target. Merely their side poses would be focused. Off and on, the points tally would emerge, nonetheless.
At last, we could clearly see the name of Abhinav Bindra, the world champion, on top of the scoreboard. Having seen that and thus optimally stabilized my B.P. and possibly the pulse rate, the voice of the commentator conveyed what millions of Indians were desperately waiting to hear for a long time. Not only Abhinav Bindra was shown on top, but he was pitched ahead of Zhu Qinan, another World Champion from China and the gold medalist at 2004 Athens Olympics. Trailing behind at the third spot was, Henri Hekkinen of Finland. Naturally, we were glued to the TV set more than before. Notable Indians among the spectators and Gaby Buehlmann the Swiss personal coach of Abhinav, could not suppress their deserving sense of excitement. Every now and then they would get up and continue shaking their bodies in adoration. Gaby lost no time in hugging her special prodigy.
The final moment of well fought for glory came sharp at 10.00 hrs. It was Bindra, Bindra, Bindra. He was adjudged the WINNER. He had clinched at last. Thus he became the first ever Indian to win an individual gold medal in the Olympics. So far, India had won the gold medal eight times, but they were all in the group event of the Men’s Hockey. For a moment, therefore, I closed my eyes. And jumped off in excitement. Not only I remembered the Almighty at, I should say, this historical moment but also did not forget to thank Him profusely from the core of my heart. Our joy knew no bounds while shaking hands and hugging each other warmly. It was momentous. It was unforgettable. It was definitely emotional.
Then followed the usual boring, drab and uninspiring commentary on the DD Sports. At last, Abhinav Bindra, the beaming yet cool and composed young man appeared prominently on the small screen. For a moment, it became a golden screen for all of us. To our utter disgust, they kept showing the second place Chinese and the third place Finnish. Naturally, no patriotic Indian will relish it, leave aside taking it lightly. Situation became rather bad when the telecast of some other event began all of a sudden. But same was rightly interrupted by the announcement of the Medal distribution ceremony of the 10 Metre Rifle Final for men. The shortest of the three, Abhinav, without divulging his sense of joy, obviously occupied the centre stage. What a proud moment for India it was! India appeared truly Incredible and unstoppable at this point of time.
The dignitary from the Netherlands tipped to be the chief guest showed the charm and grace befitting the occasion. She looked at the winners, who nodded politely in turn. I was dying to hear the National Anthem for the first time in 28 years from an Olympic podium. I appealed to D.T. and Ankoor to observe silence. Each time it is played, my respect and admiration for Mother India is enhanced. In no time, we were fortunate to witness the medal ceremony. First, it was the Finnish. He gladly and sportingly accepted the bronze. Thereafter, it was the Chinese. He looked rather dejected while taking the silver medal. Exactly at 10.20 hrs, came the golden moment for India.
When the Dutch lady picked up the sling having the gold medal, our hearts seemed to have stopped for a moment. It was unbelievable, but true. She made no mistake in putting the sling into the deserving neck of Abhinav. Latter took it with a sense of humility and grace. While keeping his nerve, he decided to smile at last. With his smile, the whole of India smiled, cheered and yes, shouted in jubilation. It was the fitting time to clap vehemently and perhaps jump as well.
I went a step further to capture this memorable golden moment into my camera. By the time I succeeded in taking two shots, my battery deceived. But with the ferocious speed of an Olympian, I managed to change the cell. I was on the job again with, so to say, an electrifying speed. When the scene changed over the TV, I rang up friends, relatives and well wishers to share our joy. Having finished with that, I religiously transferred the coveted four shots into the Laptop for the posterity. As per age old ethos, DT and Ankoor were given Rs.101/ each in this moment of unprecedented glory. They accepted with the comment that the most defining moment in India’s Olympic history called for a much better treat. I promised that with a glowing face and determined spirit.
While the well deserved victory of Abhinav Bindra stopped the heartbeat of the nation, it was time for me to remind myself about my impending heart check-up. Even though it was delayed by an hour or so, it was worth it. Afterall, an Indian does not win an Olympic gold medal everyday, I told myself while turning on the ignition of the vehicle.