Don’t mess with us. Don’t dare call the mess at Commonwealth Games village mess. Don’t forget your diplomatic manners as guests even if we do not begin to understand ours as the host. Don’t forget we are among the largest markets in the world.
India is repeatedly sending out such not-so-covert messages to the foreign contingents that have started arriving for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games Federation CEO, Mike Hooper, got a taste of it. So did South African High Commissioner Harris Mbulelo Sithembile Majeke. Both were forced to revisit and revise their candid statements.
The media is having a field day harassing the foreigners even as it is following an unseen, unheard, patriotic, or is it purely commercial, diktat and is not as much as reminding us of the culpability of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The method in the seeming madness is pretty clear. Having claimed to have claimed the scalp of its prime target, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, the media collectively shifted its stance last Friday. The prime minister has finally stepped in, we were told, Kalmadi is out, we were assured, and games are back on track, the television channels announced in unison. Timed perfectly to coincide with the CWG advertising burst.
Poor Mike Hooper and Harris Mbulelo Sithembile Majeke. Maybe they saw what we saw, heard what we heard and were just a little more gullible to have believed it all. “We were pushing very hard, we kept pushing. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink,” Hooper said in dismay about the Indian authorities that were responsible for the work on the ground. Before, of course, eating his words and stating that he shared the blame. The South African high commissioner was brave enough to report that a snake had been found in an athlete’s room. That was before he, too, was presumably shown his place in the comity of nations.
It was meanwhile business as usual on the ground, with a king cobra deflecting attention from the state of the art, sorry, apartments. Organising Committee spokesperson Lalit Bhanot came up with another gem, but this time also a solution. “There is nothing wrong with the flats,” he claimed, “The only problem is in a few bathrooms. Each flat has three to four bathrooms. So, we will shut one or two of them.”
Maybe that’s what made the Delhi chief minister promise that everything would be ready come Wednesday. Watch this space.