Friday, October 15, 2010

The Commonwealth Games - As I Would Remember Them

October 14, 2010
The Closing Ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games. That the Games took place at all could be considered a success given all the negative hype which was surrounding it. It may have been many things to many, but this is what I would remember the Games for (my perspective maybe quite limited because I am sitting in Mumbai while everything went on in Delhi)
  • The pre game fiasco. Not on time, things collapsing, dirty, atheletes withdrawing, corruption everywhere, even the theme song. As a public relations disaster dont think there have been many on this scale.
  • Then came the opening ceremony. In my opinion the perfect showcase of India. And this went a long way in removing most of the earlier fears. The closing ceremony was a bit off a letdown though except for the marching band (Or maybe my expectations were much higher).
  • The crowds. We always do things in extreme. Either the attendance was poor or there were complaints from atheletes getting distracted by the noise from the crowds.
  • The joy of getting to sing the national anthem many times.
  • The two hockey matches. India-Pakistan & India-England semi-finals. Awesome atmosphere and fantastic performance from the team (that we received a thrashing in the final is a different matter)
  • The 4X400m womens' relay team winning the gold. And the noise was well unbelievable. And this had to happen almost simulataneously with the hockey semi-finals.
  • Sushil Kumar's wrestling bouts. He came, saw and conquered. As simple as that. Winning a semi-final bout in just 9 seconds. No fuss.
  • Paramjeet Samota winning boxing gold. Somehow I saw all his bouts live.
  • Archery finals. Saw them both. Dipika Kumari's perfect 10-10-10. The men's medals ceremony was alongwith Sachin Tendulkar hitting his 14,000th Test run.
  • Attempting to understand Lawn Bowls. Now this was one weird game. Though seemed fit for people of all ages.
  • The India-England ding dong battle for the 2nd spot. Saina Nehwal won what could be considered the most important badminton match in history to win gold and take India ahead of England on the last day.
  • There was a theme song made by A R Rahman specially for the Games. I think a modified Jai Ho would have been the better choice. Anyways Jai Ho was the song which played more often.
  • Overall India achieved its target of 100 medals and overall 2nd spot. A better reflection of how much India has improved in the sports arena will come in the next month's Guangzhou's Asian Games.
As an aside, the Commonwealth Games also managed to distract attention from the Ayodhya judgement. We should be thankful for a safe games. And hope this increased awareness continues to give good results in the future.

And now that the Games are over, its time to nail all the jokers who almost turned this into a huge fiasco.

Time to nail the corrupt.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Games Have Begun

The spectacular opening cenremony for the Commonwealth Games have shown once again the power of the last minute work. There were fears that the games may not take off at all, nothing was ready. Once the ceremony had begun, all such fears proved to be unfounded. The old philosophy of doing the waork at the very last minute prevailed.
Here are my thoughts on the opening ceremony.
1. The show looked good, or rather would have looked better if not for DD's coverage. The show began live and turned out to be deffered live as ad breaks came in between. Other "breaking news" & twitter were far ahead of the "Live Telecast".
2. The highlights of the program was definetely the aerostat (blimp's big brother).
3. The march past of the atheletes. Here is a confession.Apart from Bindra I had not heard of even a single flag bearer before. The cheers when Pakistan marched in was, well, amusing. We love to hate them. And it was a great feeling to see the huge Indian contingent march in. England's Nehru coats were also interesting, as were the Kiwi's angavatrams.
4. Speech time. Kalmadi booed. President, Prime Minister & Prince Charles - nobody cared. Huge cheers for India, Sheila Dixit & APJ Abdul Kalam. Couldnt have been a better popularity index for our leaders. It was nice of kalmadi to mention Atal Behari Vajpayee in his speech though.
5. Gandhi, Indian Railways, Folk Dances, the many drums, the tiny tabla player, Hariharan's welcome song and Rehman's Jai Ho to finish it. It was a perfect showcase of India without trying to Bollywoodize it.

In the end the Games got off to a rousing start. Twitter & Facebook timelines also suggested the same. Lets hope for a fantastic games as well (on the field).

P.S. In the euphoria of the spectacular opening ceremony, lets not forget all the corruption scandals. The guilty better be punished.