… all I can think of saying is, “Whew“.
After what happened just days before the Commonwealth Games was scheduled to start, after enduring so much of shame to last a lifetime, reaching even to the point of having foreigners blast the entire Nation on its account while we could do nothing but hang our heads in embarrassment, athletes pulling out, organisers threatening to call the event off etc., it was no surprise that every single Indian had his or her fingers crossed on the day of the opening – our only prayer had been, God, let it happen without any glitches, we don’t ask for a world class event, we don’t ask for a lot of medals, just let it start and end without any more mistakes.
A wave of relief spread across the country prior to the Games when Field Hockey Canada posted these pictures on their Facebook profile, followed by Team Wales and others. Our Army stepped in to fix the footbridge that had collapsed. Things went on in a war footing and yes, we managed to save ourselves by a hair’s breadth.
Unlucky I was to miss the grand opening ceremony, and had to be content with reading text messages about the magnificent programs and watching highlights a day later on youtube. The relief and pride were evident in the messages I received from my friends.
The few complaints that trickled in as the Games were underway were of no concern – after all, those happen everywhere that an event of this magnitude takes place.
My relief at an event well done slowly gives way to Gratitude…
… to everyone involved, who dropped everything and rushed to clear the Nation’s image when all some of us could do was writhe in shame.
… to everyone, here and abroad, who placed their trust in us, and came forward to show their support in spite of everything, through their presence, their encouraging words and every little gesture. I have no words to describe how much we appreciate it.
Thank you, Delhi.
Thank you for adjusting your lifestyle so that the Games could take place without hassles.
Thank you for being uncomplaining about all the hardships you had to endure in the name of security and other reasons related to the Games.
Thank you for Booing those who deserved to be booed, and cheering our friends and rivals alike.
Thank you for giving our visitors a good time.
Thank you, Delhi, for making all of us proud.
(Mr.Kalmadi has thanked all the others involved in a detailed narration that lasted almost as long as the rest of the closing ceremony did, so I do not list them here… )