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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Living in the shadow of the Commonwealth Games...

I live as it were, on Groud Zero of the Commonwealth Games.
My office overlooks Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium, where much of the action for the Games is going to take place, and my government quarters is in Andrewsganj, barely a couple of kilometres away.
I have lived in the shadow of the Games preparation for well over a year now.
Everyday, on my way to office, I find the road jammed, because of some new flyover or road being built. The route is occasionally closed to traffic, because either the Delhi Traffic police are carrying out some trials, or some bigwig is coming to inspect the venues.
For the last two weeks, I have had to fight to get into my office, because the lane leading to Soochna Bhavan has been closed off, to let in only those who have 'valid" stickers, which is interpreted on a different basis by different policemen/policewomen everyday.
Also, these narrow roads are even narrower; a yellow line has been drawn down the middle, and the lane to the right reserved for the CMW bigwigs. So, getting anywhere at all takes hours, and as a result, we just stay at home.
Today, on Sunday, we cannot go shopping, because the Malls and Markets are closed. Neither can we go to a park, because we apprehend that we cannot reach anyplace because of traffic restrictions.
I went cycling this morning: never have I seen Delhi looking so deserted. It looks like a city having a Total Bandh, with barricades and policemen everywhere.
So, the irony is that while the Delhi citizen is forced to stay home, the Canadian and the Australian and the Brit
are partying away at the disco at the CWG village, swimming in luxurious swimming pools, eating the best of cuisine, and shopping at the Village boutiques.
When the British were blasting away villagers from cannons in the wake of the 1857 Mutiny, and hanging entire village-full of men from trees, I bet they would never have thought we'd be so devoted to the Commonwealth, even after 150 years. How we kiss the boot that kicked us...
P.S: My daughter Ria went to Jammu as part of the Under-19 football team, representing Delhi in the National School Games. She stayed in Jammu in a dormitory, with inadequate communal sanitary and bathing facilites, without sufficient food to eat, not even a solitary vegetable to enliven her dal and roti diet. She came back yesterday, emaciated and tired. Yeah, we serve buffalo tongue, cooked African style, for the athletes at the CWG village, but our budding sportspeople have to put up without buckets in their bathrooms and no sabzi in their diet. Would I ever allow her to get into this line? Never. Imagine how many medals we could have won if we had spent all the money spent on the games to encourage youngsters at the school level...
I would first like to slap Shera, then stamp on him and set his effigy on fire. I will definitely buy a stuffed version today, to work out my fantasy. Let the games begin today evening.....

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