A moo point, basically …

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All games. No sport

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If ever there was an example of how easy it is to sway public sentiments, we need to look no further beyond the  Commonwealth Games saga.

People were initially indifferent to the games, often discussing how irrelevant they were but welcoming the distraction nevertheless.  Then, the Indian Express ran a big exposé on how money was being guzzled by every Tom, Dick and Kalmadi (the last one harbouring ambitions of becoming the Lalit Modi of Non-cricket sports in India.

Indifference turned to astonishment when we realized that the concept of Maximum Retail Price is not applicable to, among other things, treadmills, napkins, umberellas and diapers.

Astonishment turned to outrage when the top bosses came and defended their stance and their spending. Internal disputes raged, with many people who were supposed to be on the side of the organizers wishing fervently that the games failed catastrophically. Any voice of sanity which was willing to contemplate the benefit (seriously! you say) of holding the games was drowned, with the Indian media getting their hands dirty. The foreign media picked this up, and turned it into a reason to mock everything from Delhi to Indian Planning (an oxymoron, eh smartass?) to Corruption to Indian apathy (guilty as charged there).

This, however, pricked the jingoistic nerve in us (well, most of us). We were offended like we had never been offended before; with the notable exception of the time when Sachin Tendulkar was accused of ball tampering. Our outrage was then channeled into fervent patriotism. People claimed that an attack on the shoddy preparations was an attack on Indian sensibilities, culture, tradition and all that’s holy to all of us and the Nirmohi people. Western biases; they-are-like-that-only; it’s-bad-but-it’s-my-country; mind-your-own-business-your-economy-is-sinking; these were the ways in which everything was rationalized.

The absolutely crappy CWG theme song started circulating in the Indian cyberspace (btw, if this was the improved version, then I think the original has got to be Rehman’s worst song ever, giving strong competition to Jai Ho and … Jai Ho Feat. Pussycat Dolls). I was accused by one friend of being unpatriotic because I wouldn’t join in in the ‘excitement’, and this was attributed to me having recently shifted base to a different country. Every time a roof collapsed, we acted like it happened all the time; well, to be fair, it does. When a bridge went down and the army went and got it up in record time, we chose to spam ‘See how ossum our Army is.’ When a toilet collapsed in the dressing room at the Stadium of Light and the Sunderland – Manchester United match was delayed by 20 minutes … no wait, this was in England, but nevertheless, there were murmurs of a ‘CWG engineers’ foreign hand’ in the whole affair.

Then the Opening ceremony happened. Pride and astonishment (this time of the pleasantly surprised kind) came to the fore. There were elaborate, ‘intentionally chaotic’ parades and charades and paegents, and suddenly aall wazz well. There was a method to our madness, we said. This is the Indian interpretation of Just-In-Time, we said. The stars descended from heaven – there were rumours of Lady Diana making an appearance – to witness what was not just a spectacular show but also the most spectacular way in which I saw my tax money literally being blown away (I’m not being a socialist here, but this actually was the first thought which came to my mind, sue me! Ok don’t really).

It wasn’t as grand as the Beijing Olympics, cribbed some. Well, to be honest, that wasn’t the intention anyway. Those who withdrew citing security concerns or fears of diarrhea were dismissed as pussies/ woosies. They shouldn’t have bothered, ’cause If I was a terrorist, I would have saved my suicide bombers for a more appreciative audience and would have allowed the games to self-destruct.

We’ve now won 10 Golds, at last count. We’re winning medals in Gymnastics, which is a bit of a red flag. We’ve essentially been given a golden opportunity to achieve glory thanks to our Imperialist past. For now, we’re all very happy. It’s a pity I’m missing out on the Indian media negativity to give me the real picture, but the rest of the world is treating the games with just the right amount of indifference. Which was how the whole thing started, and how it will be once it all ends.

Written by sujaybedekar

October 7, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Parijat, Sujaykumar Bedekar. Sujaykumar Bedekar said: all games. no sport http://bit.ly/bgoWAw […]

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