That day, the 1st day of August 2012, British Summertime, around 09:45: I walked into the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park, Stratford along with my friend, with probably the same excitement that Neil Armstrong experienced while he set his first step on the moon. That was a bright and beautiful morning, as cheerful as me, no doubt it was evident. The thrill reflected on my face was beyond explanation. I was aware that the moment I was living was once a lifetime one.
God, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude in heart for choosing London to study, the city that never disappointed me since the day one I landed in Heathrow, was indeed a place of gifts.
As I stepped in, I was greeted a warm welcome by the renowned five-ringed Olympic emblem, and I eagerly looked around and absorbed the moment in my camera. My friend and I followed the sea of people to the River Side Arena, where the Hockey match was about to be scheduled in an hour time. I saw the flags of all countries waving in the wind, and I paused for a moment to find the Indian flag and proudly gave a salute. As much as I love to live in the United Kingdom, I admit that India is a feeling my heart behold and the place where my soul belongs.
The tickets we had were for a Hockey tournament, between Belgium and Netherlands. “Hockey is India’s national sport.” I thought as I walked up the gallery to find my seat along with my friend. As we sat down, we were sharing little talks about how lucky we were to be there. She was happy, and I could see in her face, but being a person who doesn’t show it as much as I do, her emotions are not apparent in our photographs. The crowd was cheering their team, and there wasn’t a specific one that I supported. Though I am fond of cricket, I enjoyed watching the tournament sitting in the gallery, rather than on the television in my living room. I experienced the fans’ pulse, and it was great to sense it while I was one among them. The Netherlands won the match, and the teams played well.
After the game, my friend and I explored the park. Other sports like rowing were happening in the other end of the stadium. The Olympic torch stood at the center with all its glory. We captured some scenes on our iPhone. It was a proud moment for both of us, a story we could share with the future generations, it might sound a bit exaggerating, but it is a feeling beyond words to describe.
I gratefully remembered the conversation I shared with a particular person, a few days before the match. That was one of my colleagues who asked me out of the blue, “Chinchu, would you like a ticket to watch the Olympics?”. I thought she was kidding me, and I looked at her with an expression full of mischief and said, “Why I feel you woke up from the wrong side of the bed this morning,” and laughed. She replied with a hint of annoyance in her tone, “Why would you think I would joke of such a thing to you?”. This time I understood she wasn’t joking with me. As her daughter bid some Olympic entry passes, and she didn’t need that many. I bought two of them for myself and my friend.
I shared this happiness with my dad, and I would never forget what he said to me, ” Chinchu, this is a rare opportunity you got in your life, don’t think twice, just grab it, because you never know if you ever get a similar chance again.” That day remains etched to my soul as it always meant to be, because it was unimaginable for a simple girl who considered herself too small in this vast universe, determined to achieve her dreams. It taught her the infinite possibilities of life and opportunities that comes in our life. It took its unique place in her memory box, which holds all the beautiful memories in her life.
Much Love ❤️