The official website of the 2010 Commonwealth Games features on its front page, a prominent countdown to the very second the Games are scheduled to begin.
It also features the blog of its infamous, corruption tainted chairman Suresh Kalmadi. “We are focused on delivering a great Games” writes Mr Kalmadi, “yes we can do it…”
While the Indian in me just wants to blindly believe him and cheer for the Games, the journalist in me has this question: Mr Kalmadi, do you even mean it?
On Tuesday, a pedestrian bridge next to the main venue - Jawaharlal Nehru stadium – collapsed, injuring 23 construction workers.
The Australian Channel 7 station claims to have exposed serious security lapses at the CWG venues in a sting operation; its reporter got through the security check with a suitcase full of explosives. Government officials have dismissed the operation calling it bogus, however three top international athletes have decided to pull out for security reasons.
Adding to the ignominy, Scotland, England and New Zealand raised concern over the hygiene conditions of the athletes’ accommodation. And again, a government minister shamed us all with the usual “head in sand” attitude. “Everyone has different standards about cleanliness. The Westerners have different standards, we have different standards,” he said, surely a line that is going to bounce around youth hostels and expat bars for years to come.
India’s image has been tarnished with each CWG mess. And that has obviously not gone down well with Indians within and outside India. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and even the statuses on Google chat are full of criticisms, ridiculing the CWG.
Here’s are some selections:
“Kalmadi exposed even more brazenly. How much more salt is he going to rub on the Indian wound? Doesn’t matter for him though - he has avid supporters in the Delhi and Central government.”
“A collapse a day keep the athletes away!”
“Land of Rising Sun : JAPAN!
Land of Midnight Sun : NORWAY!
Land of CORRUPTSUN : INDIA!”
“CWG = Cash Waste Gaya. #CWG# Commonwealth Games”
“The Common ‘wealth’ Games are finally happening amidst so much shame, such shame, such a shame.”
“Dilli badnaam hui, daaarrrling tere liye!”
Oops – here comes another news flash even as I write this: “Now a ceiling collapse inside the weightlifting arena of Nehru stadium.”
And just when I’m thinking “Haven’t we had enough?, a friend replies “But this is just the beginning.”