We Indians thrive on masala. Spice is in our DNA and drama Ekta Kapoor style is our staple diet. Nothing proves this cliché like the recently concluded XIX Common Wealth Games.
It really was a representation of quintessential Indian way of things. First we take up a grand ambitious project in hand – a sport event which, in all honesty, not many care about. The rampant corruption which is trademark of Indian bureaucratic politics and red tape becomes the star of the show with Mr. Kalmadi playing the part to a T. And since it is a sport event, we need to have an anthem, right? So we give the job to Mr. A. R Rahman, just the right person to do it, one would imagine. And Rahman "sir" comes up with a sorry excuse for a CWG anthem with stale lyrics (
bula liya – what kind of Hindi is that!). Like we all know, no Indian drama is complete without divine intervention. This drama had the great Indian monsoon doing that bit, only this time instead of helping, it created further chaos. The Indian Army comes to the rescue for doing a thankless job. After all isn’t protecting Desh ki aan what the high defense budget for? The games start in grand style, thanks to trusted veterans Mr Shyam Benegal, Mr. Javed Akhtar and Mr. Prasoon Joshi. That is not a surprise at all because we, as a nation, are better artists than sportspersons. India gets a makeover like an Indian bride inaccessible to the very people dear to her – the aam aadmi of the city. A Rs. 40 crore big helium balloon flies high for one day. Kind of stuff, fat Indian weddings are known for! We are the emotional, sentimental people. And DD commentary does not fail us dishing out crap like “Khiladiyon ko zindagi ki hassi mil gayi”! The closing ceremony was a collective sigh of relief with lame Bollywood performances and lamer “thank-God-the-games-are-over” kind of vote of thanks! Delhi
And in the middle of all this drama, the Indian athletes hit hard and run harder, without complaining and without cribbing. In an atmosphere where they get treated like this, they play for samman, pride, for there are no monetary rewards, hardly any fame, just a medal for which they sweat day in and day out. While the standard of competition in CWG is not something to swear by, Indian sport still tries to breathe for life, in spite of everything our nation of a billion does to bring it down.
Whether or not any good CWG 2010 has done for athletic sports in
remains to be seen. Indian athletics will face sterner competition in Asian Games this November where traditionally, we have not had many reasons to cheer. It would give a better assessment, or honest insight, of where we stand in face of genuine competition. But I sincerely hope there are more who take up sports as a career and not a means to a career in Railways and sport quota government jobs. And I hope we see more frequent display of determination, grit, encouragement and support like this in the coming times! India
And against all odds I hope that the corrupt get punished! Maybe that is too much to ask for, for if that happens, would we still be what we are – all forgiving Indians?