11 August, 2008, will be a red letter day in India’s history. A day when I experienced a one-of-its-kind supreme goosebump moment, something that’d never happened before. The day I got to see the Indian flag being hoisted high up at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – the day when Abhinav Bindra had won us our first individual gold medal at the Olympics. A moment of celebration, elation and pride for the entire country and he, was the sole reason for it.
I’ve seen people jump up and down, skip around and bring the entire world down for rolling a stone a few millimetres ahead – I’ve myself done that a lot. Yet, this man, who had won India it’s first individual gold medal, was standing there on the victory podium, unfazed, humble and silent. When the results were announced, when he was awarded his medal, when the Indian flag was hoisted in his honour, all he had intact was his disarming, pleasant smile – nothing more, nothing less. He was not floating up in the skies, nor was he gloating in any manner about what he had accomplished.
The results at the Rio Olympics just show today wasn’t his day.
Abhinav Bindra, You’re an inspiration for millions out there who believe in hard-work, patience and perseverance, who believe in coming up on merit. You’re a legend. You’re undaunted by success. You take failures in your stride. You have never let your focus deter. You’ve always made your work speak for you. Your humility is something I strive to imbibe. And above everything else, you’re an exemplary human.
Abhinav Bindra, you are India’s pride. Always have been. Always will be.
Thank you, for being you.