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 crowdâs loudest cheers were for itself: every time Mike Fennel, purveyor of the loudest noises of doom in the run-up to the Games, said âThank you, Delhiâ, 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 couldnât be immediately ascertained if it was boos or applause)and at the bottom of the heap was the Organising Committeeâs Vice-Chairman, Lalit Bhanot, who was loudly and unambiguously booed.
Of all the speeches made, it was Mike Fennelâs that was both generous and condescending. He patted India on the head for hosting a successful Commonwealth Games amid âdoubtsâ and said now India would have a âgreater knowledge of international events and the rest of the worldâ. Kalmadiâs speech had the tone of âI told you we could do it and we haveâ 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 Delhiâs Lt Governor, Tejendra Khanna.
The hosts of the next (20th) Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, did a little presentation with everything Scottish: kilts, tam oâshanters, 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 wasnât high culture, but it was honest and simple - just a celebration of the youthfulness in everyone. For instance, âWe will, we will rock youâ was originally sung by rock band Queen; Yves Larock first sang âOver the rainbow so highâ… 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 crowdâs response. It was always spontaneous, and whatever Indiaâs 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.