The way Tripura welcomed Dipa Karmakar after Olympics

Every girl child in the state wants to be like the ace gymnast.

 |  3-minute read |   22-08-2016
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After stepping into Agartala on Sunday, my firm belief was that finding Dipa Karmakar's home will just be child's play.

I took a cab and told the driver to take me to Dipa's home. For a minute, the driver gave me a blank expression as if he did not catch the name of the road. I said it loud and with an emphasis - DIPA. Realising it had not rung a bell, I blurted out KARMAKAR, the gymnast from Tripura, Produnova vault, Olympics, Bishweshwar Nandi. It was futile. I tried looking for a poster, hoarding, splashed with Dipa's broad grin. Nothing within eye shot. I told him to take me to a nearby shop or a tea stall, hoping them to come to my rescue.

Also read - Rio 2016: Take a bow, Dipa Karmakar. You made India proud

The people were equally clueless. Yes, some of them were familiar with the name, but had no idea of the address.

I was wondering if Dipa were born in Bengal and she was coming to Kolkata after her brilliant feat in Olympics.

In my mind's eye I was trying to imagine Mamata Banerjee giving her a state felicitation.

dipa-embed-3_082216091537.jpg Dipa Karmakar performs at the Rio Olympics. 

Not only would the whole city have been wrapped up with cut-outs of Mamata and Dipa, the state buildings would have been glowing with the tricolour and Mamata's blue and white dress code illumination.

Also read: Dipa Karmakar poised to vault into history books

Finding Dipa's address wouldn't have been a problem at all. All roads, all traffic of Kolkata would have led to Dipa's home.

I still remember distinctly how Kolkata Knight Riders winning the IPL sent the whole city into a tizzy. Normalcy came under the grip of frenzy as matadors rolled the champions all through the city lanes and bylanes. There was a near-stampede like situation at the entrance to the Eden Gardens where Shah Rukh Khan and his team were shaking their legs to the lungi dance. Mamata really knows how to stoke the freaking spirit of the city by several degrees.

How placid, unruffled was Tripura the day before Dipa's homecoming!

Also read: Dipa Karmakar will be challenging death to win India a medal at Olympics

A few hoardings, not quite spectacular could be spotted in the neighbourhood. I was prepared for a damp squib on Monday, going by the temper of the previous day.

Again I was in for a surprise. The capital city woke up to a new dawn and schools got over early as children, in various school uniforms were made to flank the 15km stretch from airport to the felicitation venue. There were clapping, loud cheer and shouts: Dipa, Dipa, Dipa reverberating through the air.

The glitz and glamour was missing, but the reception was warm, that of embracing the girl back home. School children, braving the scorching sun, stood for hours at the Vivekananda stadium to catch a glimpse of Dipa didi who had given wings to their dreams.

Every girl child in Tripura wants to be a Dipa, every mother wants to have a gem of a daughter like her.


Romita Datta Romita Datta

The writer is Associate Editor, India Today.

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