October 14, 2010
Today is the last day of the Commonwealth Games. The fact that it’s a bank holiday (in Delhi) isn’t really surprising.
Why not. Adults deserve their CWG candy too. After all, weren’t all the schools in Delhi shut for two weeks ?
India put on a damn fabulous show for these Games. We all remember the horror pictures of the Athletes Village a couple of days before the opening ceremony. The collapsing bridge, etc. The whole world was laughing, Indians were mortified. But then the opening ceremony turned out to be lovely and everyone here clapped and gasped and blamed the mean, mean firang journalists badmouthing their country. All you need, in the country of the thousand lives, is is a few fireworks.
Nevermind that the stadiums were empty, that 50 swimmers got water-poisoning, and that the Athletes Village toilets overflowed ( due to thousands of condoms blocking the pipes, may I add ). Nevermind, nevermind.
Oh but I had this exact conversation a few days ago with an Indian. He blamed the foreign press for all the bad things.
“Well, the bridge did collapse” I ventured.
“It happens, you know, it happens” he commented.
“I guess you’re right, I’m sure a lot of bridges collapsed in the 1860’s”.
“But the thing is, ok, so we didn’t foresee the monsoon rains, the river was high, you know, it happens.”
What I wanted to say then was : yes, the monsoon has only been happening for the last 2,000 years, how could anyone foresee it?
But I didn’t say anything, I said the Games were damn good, and I thought : for all their candour, these guys do have tremendous pride in their country, who am I to question it ?
And if not working is their way to show their appreciation, so be it, so be it.