October 08, 2010

The CommonMan Games: Part 1


We are having CWG in India this time (now thats Breaking News!) and there was no way I was gonna miss being a part of it. After all these games are being organized for me(read an Indian) by My country (that's India stupid). I got the opportunity to be at 2 different stadium, on 2 different days, for 2 different events (with 2 slightly different sets of friends!). So, how was the experience? There you go: 

Venue: JLN Stadium Date: 06.10.2010 Time: 5.30 PM Event: Athletics 

We were a 'small' bunch of 7 friends who - after much brainstorming the night before - decided to reach near the stadium over 100 mins. before to avoid last minute rush. We had to meet at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station at 'exactly' 3.30. I left home at 2.10 (promising to be home by 9.30) and was there at 'exactly' 3.30. (I still can't believe I reached at 'exactly' 3.30!). But as it usually happens, someone had to get late, and someone did get late. Started from there at around 4.15. And now it was race against time. We kept on hopping from one train to another. Since we didn't know about the location of the gate we were supposed to enter the stadium, we asked a few volunteers for direction. Amazingly everyone told us a different direction (and everyone was so sure about their direction!). As a result we had to run from pillar to post (quite literally!) marching for about 2 kms, taking wrong gates and going through a rather strict security checking. 

So, here we are. Its 5.15 and we can see the stadium from outside. And how fine it looked. Had seen JLN from outside before, but this time it looked something else (majaak majaak me kafi paisa kharcha ho gaya). But wait, we aren't inside the stadium yet. So, again we started asking the volunteers and again they started giving wrong directions (If volunteering means misguiding, try me, I can do a better job). Anyway, at last we reached our section of seats. We searched for a suitable row and gave our bums some rest. I looked at the watch and it was 'exactly' 5.30! (was my watch not working properly?). 

Well this was my first experience to be inside a stadium of any kind (I have been to cinema, lecture & examination halls!) and the scene was mesmerizing. A big steel stadium, blue streaks of seats all around, brownish track and green field, darkening sky, white flood nights, and colorful athletes in between. Oh yes, there was some local (read mawaali) crowd, men with guns all around, dusty seats, rubbish strewn around the stadium, all kinds of insects over flood lights etc. too! But its all right, after all its My country (Welcome to Incredible India!)

Only regretful thing was that the stadium wasn't even half full (half full?). I mean, I went there to see whats it like when 60000 odd crowd cheers for India, but had to settle for around 15000 or so. And that can be attributed to fact that the event was Athletics which isn't much popular in India (confirmed by only handful of Indian participants), that too qualifying not finals. But it felt good to cheer for the odd Indian participants that came to give their all. 

There was 100m heats for men and women, and it was quite easy to predict who was going to win just by seeing the country of participants (Jamaica, Nigeria, Ghana). Indians sadly remained at 4th, 5th places. There were hammer throw and shot-put events also that were going on at the same time but none of the attempts was close to Games/World Record (was it because it was qualifying or was it because the quality of participants wasn't top class?).

The event was till 8.40, but half of us decided to leave at 7.25 (though I wanted to stay) since we had to reach home before it was too late. The journey back home was also sort of an adventure. The food at the stadium was world class (read obscenely expensive), one place we decided to eat said no food available. So hungry, feeling tired, I hopped into the metro back home (good bye mates, see u tomorrow). But the trains were jam packed. The place I got to stand turned out to be a nightmare. Someone's travelling bag behind me, and surrounded by three young paajis who were discussing all sorts of things, standing at an angle of about 105 degrees. Lets not relive the nightmare, OK. Anyway, I reached home at 9.31 (promise kept, brilliant!!) 

After that it was routine, ate lunch dinner, checked mails/buzz, made a few calls and crawled to the bed. 

PS: Why was every time I was getting out of stadium, there would be huge noises inside? Was it because people were relieved I left the stadium or was it because Indians were too shy to perform before me?