Film stars posed with him. The postal department released a stamp in his honour. Flea markets sold tees with his face printed on them. Even Rahul Gandhi took his picture! But, what will come of good ol’ Shera, the mascot of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, now that the party is over?
“We’ll do away with the T-shirts now, ab kya faayda (what’s the use now),” says Suresh Soni, a shop owner in Janpath. While the Games were on, he sold 20 Shera tees worth Rs.150, every day. Over 1,500 Shera tees and mugs were sold to CWG athletes and delegates.
“Shera, like the Appu of 1982 Asian games, has reserved a permanent place in history,” says singer Shibani Kashyap, who performed her Shera song during the opening ceremony of the Games. “People will never forget him, and I’ll be singing my Shera song in all my concerts, both here and abroad.”
But not all are hopeful about the tiger’s happy future. “Mark my words,” said Delhi’s legendary chronicler RV Smith. “Few months more, and Shera will be half-forgotten.”