Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CWG Opening: The Experience

You switch on the TV, tune in to a news channel, the probability of you seeing news on CWG is almost one. You receive hundreds of forwarded messages every day; the probability of you getting a joke on Suresh Kalmadi is one. You wake up in the morning; take the newspaper in your hands, open up the first page, probability of finding news on CWG is more than one. Many people may not even know who Suresh Kalmadi is or what does he do! But, they do laugh and forward the joke made on him to others when they themselves get one. Such is the effect of CWG on the people. Sole reason would be that this is the first time such big event is happening in our very own country, India. People are excited. Some had/have doubts; some can’t stop themselves from praising the event.

The opening ceremony of any games is an event everyone, sports-lover or sports-hater, loves watching. The lighting, the performances, the music, the props used, stars, etc make the opening an amazing thing. CWG had an opening ceremony too. Thus, for we Indians, the exciting was doubled. I had barely managed to get the passes for the ceremony and to be very honest, I wasn’t very excited for it. I was not sure whether after so much reading and knowing about the mishaps (physical and financial), would be a hit or flop.
I reached the stadium three hours before the scheduled time. The journey was not very comfortable, as I had travelled in the newly inaugurated South Delhi Metro. There were a few technical faults. The station at JLN stadium was commendable though. But, I was devastated to see the commotion and rumpus outside the main gate. There was no sign of any queue. The volunteers seemed helpless. People were doing the same thing they had been doing since ages, not obeying any order. Everyone wanted to get inside as soon as possible. Result: The stadium entry appeared to be as a normal mela.

After putting in a few extra efforts, I managed to get inside. There was again no queue at the security systems. I ignored this time, and formed a line at one of the security checks. There was a monitor to scan our passes’ barcode. It had failed. Thus, no face or ticket recognition. Anyone could go inside. The manual security check was very normal.

Finally I managed to grab my seat inside the stadium. All I could see was kids rehearsing and a huge circular aerostat placed in the middle. I still had two hours before the show would begin. So, being a big foodie, I decided to fill myself in with the eatables available in the stadium shops. I fainted this time after seeing the crowd at the shops. Everyone seemed dying from hunger. I went near the counter and then realized I could only go near the counter, not buy anything.Sanity had died. People were shouting for the soft drink and burger like anything. Most of them were even trying to push the ones standing ahead of them so as to get to the counter earlyAll they could get was hot cold drink and a squeezed burger. I was becoming odious about the mismanagement of the stadium. I wondered how the show would go on.

I swear to god, my jaw dropped after seeing the first sight when the ceremony began. That circular aerostat had gone up, there were a few huge puppets hanging from it and the lighting was so amazing. The music and the crowd’s reaction made me forget everything. The performances began. We all could see the artists performing at the stage on that aerostat, that too with effects. The fireworks, the lighting were incredible. The performers were terrific. The kids who performed the bangle-in-the-hands act were a delight to watch.  

Then came the parade of all seventy one participating nations. Starting alphabetically from Australia and India being the host came in last. The speeches given by various politicians slackened the event but the laconic speech given by ace shooter Abhinav Bindra charged everyone up. After the speeches, a tribute to the Indian railways was given, a train showing all the cultures of our country made a round of the stadium and the overall look was tremendous. But, the main attraction remained the circular balloon, all the lightings appearing on it, the telecast of the main program or a generation of Mahatma Gandhi’s sketch or a lighted sculpture showing a medicated man.

One by one, all the main dances and the other cultures were performed. Hariharan with his song Swagatam won almost off the hearts. Appropriate dance moves shown by the kids were fantastic. The only thing left was our alleged musical maestro A R Rahman.  The ending performance given by him was simply mesmerizing. The theme song of the CWG, sung by him made me say, “Oh WoW! Unforgettable experience!” Last but not the least; he concluded the ceremony by singing the world famous song: Jai Ho!  

After prancing in my reveries about the ceremony, it was time for me to leave. No sooner did I step outside the stadium, than all the commotion and stampede again started. I overheard people complaining about the washrooms,”Isse achha to sala sulabh ka hota hai!”The walking speed of people appeared to me as millimeter per second. There again was no management. People were shouting at the managing staff and to one another.

Overall, I would just say that I shall remember this day as the day I witnessed the rich culture of India live, that too in an extravagant way! All I could recall after coming home was the performances, the lighting, the music, the environment and Rahman’s singing act. The experience ceremony gave me will be cherished forever! Hail India! Jai Hind.

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