The real superstar of the 2010 FIFA World Cup wasn't a player on the pitch, but rather a two and a half year old Octopus at the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany. And I am amazed that in India the craze around Psychic Paul is still on, while here in Germany Paul is still part of private conversations and gossip, but he has disappeared from the media limelight.
Here in Germany people now regard Paul as having been an episode in this years World Cup. A surely crazy one, getting eight out of eight predictions right is a big achievement, but now it is history. But I had to realise that in India Paul is still a big topic, even after the end of the World Cup.
I have received numerous mails with attachments showing different pictures of Paul. My favourite one is the one in which Paul is deciding on the winner of a match between Brazil and India. It is the final of the 2026 FIFA World Cup and not surprisingly Paul the Octopus decides on India winning their first World Cup. I just love that picture, my only worry is that India needs to qualify for the 2026 edition. Thereafter the prediction can come true. Isn't it?
Another one which I have received shows Paul sitting in a birds cage besides an Indian fortune teller. Paul is deciding the future of the customers under the title "Aap ka future" (your future) by picking the cards, while the parrot who used to house in the cage is looking back at his old job and holds up a placard saying "urgently need a job".
Just to let you all know. The Sea Life in Oberhausen has officially announced on Monday that Paul is retiring from the business of football match predictions and will focus once more on being only an Octopus in an aquarium.