A riotous, rowdy, rumbustious romp: that was the closing ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games that ended this evening on a note of exuberance.
The speeches were many and long. The crowdÃ¢Â€Â™s loudest cheers were for itself: every time Mike Fennel, purveyor of the loudest noises of doom in the run-up to the Games, said Ã¢Â€Â˜Thank you, DelhiÃ¢Â€Â™, the crowd roared with approval.
In order of popularity, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit were in a tie. Suresh Kalmadi drew a lot of noise (it couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t be immediately ascertained if it was boos or applause)and at the bottom of the heap was the Organising CommitteeÃ¢Â€Â™s Vice-Chairman, Lalit Bhanot, who was loudly and unambiguously booed.
Of all the speeches made, it was Mike FennelÃ¢Â€Â™s that was both generous and condescending. He patted India on the head for hosting a successful Commonwealth Games amid Ã¢Â€Â˜doubtsÃ¢Â€Â™ and said now India would have a Ã¢Â€Â˜greater knowledge of international events and the rest of the worldÃ¢Â€Â™. KalmadiÃ¢Â€Â™s speech had the tone of Ã¢Â€Â˜I told you we could do it and we haveÃ¢Â€Â™ and had only a passing reference to the greatest thorn in his flesh, sports minister M S Gill, although he gave vociferous thanks to the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Sheila Dikshit drank in the plaudits hungrily, never once sharing a glance with DelhiÃ¢Â€Â™s Lt Governor, Tejendra Khanna.
The hosts of the next (20th) Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, did a little presentation with everything Scottish: kilts, tam oÃ¢Â€Â™shanters, Scottish reels, bagpipes, a recreation of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster and lots of green, presumably a salute to the gorse and heather of the Scottish highlands. The final touch was a peppy rendering of Auld Lang Syne.
The Indian part of the goodbye ceremony was a tribute to the young. A garish laser show set the mood for transformation of the stadium into a gigantic disco. Everyone, but everyone, danced to Indian fusion music. It was derivative, it wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t high culture, but it was honest and simple - just a celebration of the youthfulness in everyone. For instance, Ã¢Â€Â˜We will, we will rock youÃ¢Â€Â™ was originally sung by rock band Queen; Yves Larock first sang Ã¢Â€Â˜Over the rainbow so highÃ¢Â€Â™… and so on. But what was on display was not originality but the successful creation of ambience. What was sorely missed was Kajra re…
Nothing could have tutored the crowdÃ¢Â€Â™s response. It was always spontaneous, and whatever IndiaÃ¢Â€Â™s opinion about some of those on the podium, it kept its feelin d the Commonwealth Games left an indelible imprint. No, Mr Fennel: it was InDelhible.