Monday, 4 October 2010

Common pride, not so common wealth

The 2010 Commonwealth Games opened in India last night, under a cloud of controversy and corruption. I hadn't paid too much attention to the issues surrounding the games, except for what I'd heard on the news about the athletes' village not being up to par or ready for people to live in, or the fact that many athletes bowed out of the competitions because they feared for their health and safety. I must admit, it looked pretty bad for a while, and I wondered if India would live up to expectations.

But if the opening ceremonies last night were any indication, it seems the organizers in India managed to pull a miracle and put on a good show. Viewers were treated to dances representing the different regions of the country, light shows, and live musical performances. It was pretty neat to watch it all from my living room in Canada. In fact, I should say the show made me rather nostalgic.

It seems that for a few hours, people were allowed to forget about all the controversy and issues that are yet to be dealt with. Instead, they were given glimpses into India's rich roots and heritage, that changes when you travel through all parts of the country. Everything from the vibrant saris to the dazzling array of colours, proved to be a spectacular feast for the eyes.

I knew India had many dance forms that range from the north's Kathak to the south's Bharatanatyam. However, it was pretty awesome to watch them all in a wonderful montage during yesterday's show. Then, of course, the games were declared officially open, as Indian musician A.R. Rahman (A la Slumdog Millionaire fame) belted out his famous 'Jai Ho' (be victorious!). It seemed an appropriate choice, all things considered.

That said, it didn't take long for the issues to stir up again. Less than a few hours after the games opened, the headlines over the net changed from reveling in India's ability to 'pull it together at the last minute' to the following:
So with the opening ceremonies out of the way, people are now talking about how there's no spectators at the games. Seats in stadiums are empty, and ticket sales have been lackluster. With more than a week left before the closing ceremonies, it should be interesting to see if organizers in Delhi will redeem themselves beyond the fanfare and regalia of the three hour opening show.


Images courtesy of Google Images

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