Delhi bids adieu to Shera | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Delhi bids adieu to Shera

For years, he has been the first and the only tangible symbol of the Commonwealth Games in the country.

delhi Updated: Oct 15, 2010 01:09 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

For years, he has been the first and the only tangible symbol of the Commonwealth Games in the country.

He has been to schools, malls, carnivals and even government offices to spread the goodwill of Delhi Games through hugs, handshakes and flying kisses.

He has been so popular that the organisers had to deploy his 'clone' for public appearances.

But finally on Thursday, it was time to say goodbye.

The adorable Games mascot, Shera walked into the sunset amid loud cheers from the audience at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in a spectacular Closing Ceremony.

In a five-minute segment between Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi's farewell speech and the handing-over function, Bollywood playback singer Shaan rendered a heartwarming number "Goodbye Shera, We'll Miss You".

With Shera by his side, Shaan circled the stadium as the mascot took bows from the young and old alike.

Shera waved his signature wave to the audience one last time and sent flying kisses to the crowd and hugged Shaan, the same way he has hugged heads of states, corporate honchos, royal representatives and even common man on the streets for years.

Composed by Bollywood musician Shantanu Moitra of 3 Idiots fame, the farewell song had the public giving the tiger a standing ovation and a glorious send-off with generous applause.

However, he will continue to live in people's heart and living rooms in the form of soft toys (the Games organisers have sold around 15,000 of them so far), just like Appu, the adorable, chubby mascot of the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi.

"This feels weird. We won't get to see Shera in advertisements, at malls and other public places. His presence was the only way to tell that the Games were coming," said Parikshit Kumar, a DU student at the closing ceremony.