For the last 11 days, Satish Bidla has been living the life of a star as Shera — adored by children, sought after by world-class athletes, his grinning face plastered on T-shirts and mugs, even serenaded with an song of his own at Thursday night’s closing ceremony. But come Friday, the man in the bright yellow suit will join the ranks of the unemployed.
“I can’t see myself as anyone else now. Shera has become my identity,” says the 23-year-old from west Delhi’s Pitampura. Officially, Bidla will continue to wear his costume for a few more days. “I still have a lot of post-promotion work to do for the Games,” he says. Bidla also says he is in no hurry to look for a new job: “The last few days have been extremely hectic and I just want to unwind.”
One of his favourite moments of the Games, he says, was when he took the victory lap with the hockey men’s team after they came back from behind to defeat England in a thrilling semi-final. “I was nearly mobbed by the crowd and the police had to intervene. Wherever I go, people want to shake hands with me and get their photos clicked. It all seems like a dream,” says Bidla.
The Organising Committee, which employed Bidla as an office boy before he became the Commonwealth Games mascot, is mulling a Shera Ghar amusement part — on the lines of Appu Ghar. If that becomes reality, Delhiites won’t have seen the last of their favourite tiger.