Thousands of Indians viewing the opening ceremony of the 30th Summer Olympics at London on July 27 were in for a shock. Walking at a vantage point, just next to the flag bearer of the Indian contingent, wrestler Sushil Kumar, was a girl wearing a red tee and blue trousers. Her clothes stood out in sharp contrast with the yellow theme chosen for the contingent. Every one was left wondering who this mystery woman was!The Dy. Indian Chef de Mission, Brig. Muralidharan Raju was fuming at the lapse in protocol. Apparently some sort of apology was later made by the organizers. In today’s age of media savvy people, the mystery was solved in no time. The young lady was identified as being the unusually named “Madhura Honey”, who belonged to Bangalore and was now studying in the UK. Her parents, in turn hounded by the media, clarified that her name was Madhura Nagendra. The Honey bit was a “nom” in a manner of speaking, that she used in Facebook.
Her father said she was part of the thousands hired as cast members for the opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle. Good for her! But how on earth she reached the head of the Indian contingent defies belief. I have been following the story closely and find, by and large, two sets of reactions.
One school of thought, to which I belong I must add, is not pleased by her bravado. Such an incident could well be a security lapse. Some of us still remember the massacre at the Munich Olympics in ’72. What if she had a bomb on her or pulled a gun or did something quite absurd? Lord Coe, the head of the organizing committee played down the affair by saying she got slightly over excited. Fair enough but would the British police have stayed so calm had she worn a head scarf? Would the British have accepted the incident with such equanimity if she had walked along side the Queen on her way to open Parliament?
Another set, largely the youth in social media, feel that it was just a lark and many admired her courage to do what she wanted to. It was funny in one sense but it could have gone horribly wrong for her. If she had done this in China, North Korea or any other such country, there is a strong possibility that she would have been shot out of hand. Shoot first and ask questions later would have been their credo.
I don’t know Madhura. I can’t say what went into her mind that prompted her to indulge in such a brazen act of showmanship, or should it be show- womanship? She seemed to have enjoyed herself and was seen waving to the crowds as if her presence there was the most natural thing in the world.
To each his or her own. Her admirers or detractors had a lot to talk about. The poor Indian contingent were on screen for all of 10 seconds but their presence was dwarfed by that of this mystery woman. Such is life!