Friday, September 24, 2010

Commonwealth Games

"Sheila Dikshit made the Canadian news!"
Yes, my husband felt it necessary to tell me this - at 5:30am this morning as he scrolled through the Canadian news on his phone - while lying in bed.
The only thing I asked was, "How did they spell her name?"

Sheila Dikshit is Chief Minister of Delhi, but we've noticed that the papers sometimes spell her name Dixit. Split personality? A bit of a complex?

As it turns out Sheila Dikshit has been brought in to clean up the mess at the Commonwealth Games. Have you seen the pictures of the Athletes Village?

Oh, I know the feeling. The day before we moved into our house I came to see how it looked - it looked like a war zone. Paint was everywhere, dirt was everywhere, it was a mess. The painters were frantically rolling - the ceilings, the walls - with nothing to protect the floors or windows or anything else for that matter. Paint was being flung everywhere, including on themselves. The cleanup team (which consisted of one or two cleaning ladies) was busy scraping paint off the floors, the windows etc. and washing everything down.

I've seen the pictures of the bathrooms in the athletes village - it doesn't surprise me in the least. And it doesn't surprise me that the Indian people (in charge) see this as a minor problem - along with a roof and a bridge falling down. IT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS.

India is India. There are 1.2 billion people living here, a good portion of whom don't sleep on mattresses, but floors. Some have toilets, but many use squat toilets and many still use nothing but the great outdoors. People eat to live and they work their butts off to send their children to hole-in-the-wall public schools.

Progress is being made in a snails pace. India has been doing things their way for thousands of years. Things don't get things done ahead of time. Yes, yes, the politicians would have told the International Organizing Committee that everything would be done ahead of time, but anyone who knows the "Indian way" would know that it was all talk and the bobbing of heads. In other words the IOC should have spent more time here learning how things are done. Instead of having the requisite "three cups of tea," they obviously only had one.

Now that push comes to shove, Sheila Dikshit has come in with 1000 workers (probably paid $1/day) and 5 star hotel managers to get the place up to international standards - with one day to go!  And they'll probably get it done, to the best of their ability, in the little time they have. 

As for the athletes - good luck with the air conditioning, the electricity, the hot water and so on and so on. This will be an experience of a lifetime for the them. Sport is about endurance, and this surely will be about who can endure what. However, I have a feeling no one is going to remember these games for the sports - but for the life experience - which is what life in India is all about, right?


  1. Couldn't really figure out in the end if the article was negative or positive, maybe neutral! :-)

  2. That's just it. Initially I think it started out negative but the more I thought about it - people have such high expectations. India is a one-of-a-kind country and they do things their own way. If anyone thought India would produce games like Australia or Canada (or anyone else) they just didn't know India.

  3. Nancy, listened to the guy in charge on the CBC. It was interesting...We also listened to a british lady who made a documentary film on the pink sari gang in India. Google it as I think you would find it interesting too. Take care, Carla

  4. Thanks Carla, I did google the Gulabi Gang (pink sari gang, based in Uttar Pradesh (N. India). Good for them protesting against corrupt officials and insisting on rights and education for women, children and the poor.
    BBC news article:
    "The pink women of Banda shun political parties and NGOs because, in the words of their feisty leader, Sampat Pal Devi, "they are always looking for kickbacks when they offer to fund us".
    Now it comes out that child labour is being used at the Games.
    The pink sari gang may use rather unconventional ways - but at least they are taking a stand and trying to make change happen.

  5. I have just seen a lot of report coming out that the Commonwealth Games in Delhi are "Spectacular".

    Thats cool to know!


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