Bhiwani (Haryana):With the euphoria around their power-packed Olympic performance finally settling, the boxing trio of Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar are bracing up to take charge as the newest DSPs in Haryana while also trying to catch some sleep.
"It feels nice but we don't know which area we would be given charge of. There is a certain aura about this post, isn't it? I hope to do justice to the responsibility," Akhil, flanked by a security personnel who will now accompany him wherever he goes, told PTI.
Among the three, Vijender is already eyeing his preferred posting.
"Given a choice, I would take charge of Gurgaon," said India's first ever Olympic medallist, a bronze winner in the middle weight category in Beijing.
The youngest of the three, Jitender is just happy to be a DSP at 20, in his second year of graduation.
"It's a great feeling, gives me an adrenaline rush. I have a security personnel with me all the time. Let's see what the job is all about," he quipped.
Being mobbed by adoring fans and attending felicitation after felicitation are part of their new routines and though exhausted, the Bhiwani bombers, as they are fondly called now, say they are more than happy to oblige any autograph hunter or photograph seeker.
"I used to practise my signature for this very day. And now that it is happening, it is surreal. Till about a few months ago we could pass through these streets completely unnoticed but now everybody turns around and recognises," said Akhil, a bantam weight quarterfinalist in Beijing, as he scribbled in Hindi for a fan. "Some kids pulled my shirt during a recent felicitation, I told them I would be back on these streets in a couple of weeks but they wanted a photo there and then. And you can't say no to kids," he added.
"It is tiring but 'chalega' (okay). Sometimes the fans have gone overboard, pulling our clothes and we have been asked the same questions over and over again by the media but it's OK. We can handle it," added Vijender.
Jitender, meanwhile, cannot have enough of the new-found fame that has come with his lionhearted performance in Beijing, where he fought with 11 stitches on his chin in the quarterfinal.
He was felicitated with a gold medal in his birthplace Devsar, some seven kilometres from Bhiwani, and the fly weight pugilist is the biggest celebrity for the villagers there.
"I still don't have proper signatures, so whenever somebody asks for my autograph, I just scribble my name in capital letters. But I am practising," he said with a wide grin.
In fact, the trio seems omnipresent in Bhiwani, peeping out from colourful posters and hoardings put up across the district to applaud their achievements. But even as they enjoy the adulation and other benefits of their hard work, sleep has become a major casualty.
"Let the whole thing settle down, I am going to spend an entire day sleeping," said Vijender, whose Kaluwas home has become a milestone in itself here.
Relaxing on the edge of his two-storey home's balcony, the 22-year-old said, "It's so quiet and peaceful. I have been craving for such solitude since my return." Akhil, on the other hand, has been stealing a nap here and there amid the numerous functions he has attended since coming back.
"It's like I take a nap for an hour then head for one function. Come back to Jitu's (Jitender) place, rest for a while and then leave for some other place. But yes, I have not been able to catch proper sleep. The homecoming has been hectic but I have enjoyed every bit of it," he said.
Catching Bollywood flicks they missed during Olympics is another one of their priorities.
"Me and Akhil bhai will watch 'Singh is Kinng' when we get some time off," said Jitender, who started boxing at the age of eight after trying his hand at judo for a while.