The Indian national anthem was heard across the world on Saturday.
Its rousing bars, echoing from the National Stadium in Tokyo, rose and rose until it swirled into each Indian home. The man responsible for this unusual experience stood on the podium below.
He stood, flanked by two Czech competitors who had slugged it out among themselves as if in some intra-former Eastern bloc contest, leaving the main spoils - the lion's share-untouched for the man in the middle.
Neeraj Chopra, of the unruly mane, shoulders of steel and knee-weakening dashing good looks had just done India a turn which had left the nation first stunned, and then euphoric Not since 2008 had the national anthem been played at the Olympics.
Neeraj Chopra of the unruly mane, shoulders of steel and knee-weakening dashing good looks, had just done India a turn which had left the nation first stunned and then euphoric, Not since 2008 had the national anthem been played at the Olympics.
Not since 1980 was it being played in an open stadium, and certainly never in India's 121-year-history at the Games had it rung in the athletics stadium - the site of competitions considered the blue ribbon events of the Games.
For decades, India had lived with epic, operatic "nearly there" stories. Now, we were suddenly handed gold in track & field in the most minimum fuss manner. It felt like an early Diwali and Christmas rolled into one.
As the ancient sport of wrestling, the javelin counts as among the basic pursuits of the Olympic ideal. And here was this gangly, broad-shouldered, narrow-legged force of nature from the Indian hinterland hurling the spear into the humid Tokyo air as if flicking toothpicks in the air to kill time.
Kill it did, instead it was the chunk of the competition - more specifically a burly, barndoor of a German called Johannes Vetter who had regularly been swallowing up distances of 90m for the past two years with his efforts.
In July, the German had said of the Indian: "I am looking to throw over 90m in Tokyo, so it will be tough for him to beat me." World leader this season with a 96.29m, it was novel to see a seasoned European rattled, experience deserting him and his modest form of the last two months bubbling to the surface, as Neeraj swaggered in, shook things up and left chaos in his wake.
The final, billed as a battle between Germany's Johannes Vetter and Chopra fizzled out early as Vetter, the world leader this season with a 96.29. failed to figure among the top eight throwers who entered the second half of the competition.
The 23-year-old Panipat boy settled any argument early with an effort of 87.58m in only his second try. It was way off his season and personal best of 88.07m, but how he approached the challenge helped finish off proceedings early. Strong purposeful. almost as if in a hurry, the quiet aggression and body language simply blew away the rest.
Neeraj's event- the final one for India at the Tokyo Games- not only helped fulfil Milkha Singh's final big wish, but he also joined Abhinav Bindra to become just two in over a billion with an individual Olympic gold. In doing so, he also helped India to her best show in Olympics with a haul of seven medals: one gold, two silver and four bronze.