(A satirical column published in DNA edition dated July 31 2010.)
The news that the construction of stadiums and hotels for the Delhi Commonwealth Games is horribly behind schedule has justifiably given rise to much existential angst. It now appears more than a little likely that Games visitors will have to stay in tent cities in the absence of adequate accommodation options. As if all this wasn’t embarrassing enough, Mani Shankar Aiyar, the killjoy spoilsport, is conducting Varuna japa yagnas to propitiate the rain god into rendering the Games a washout.
Isn’t there any way out of what is certain to be a colossal loss of face for us – and simultaneously keep everyone happy? Oddly enough, there is.
By a curious alignment of circumstances, Britain – whose prime minister David Cameron came calling asking for Indian investments to revive the down-and-out UK economy – is hosting the 2012 Olympic Games in London. And because the Brits have forsaken the limitless joys of bureaucratic red tape that they gifted us, the London Olympic stadiums are in a rather more advanced state of preparedness than our own Games infrastructure is.
So, here’s the deal. Let’s outsource the Commonwealth Games to London and have them host it on our behalf without our having to pay them a penny.
Here’s how it would work: for the entire duration of the Games, London will be rechristened ‘New Delhi’ and vice-versa, and the new ‘New Delhi’ will see the Games through, down to the last detail. Again, during the Games, all Brits will invoke distinctive Indianisms in their speech – such as “Your good name?” and “Mind it!”
Why, you might ask, would the British agree to this lunacy? There are many compelling reasons why they should (and likely will) embrace it. First and foremost, it’s the Commonwealth Games – hello! – so they would be doing it for “Queen and country”. Second, they get a chance to stress-test their overall Olympics preparedness in somewhat exacting real-life circumstances. Third, and most important, the goodwill they generate with us by hosting the Commonwealth Games on our behalf could grease the tracks for the Indian investments they seek in their economy.
And they really have nothing to lose: these are the same chaps who sailed the seas to colonise us, braved death and disease, tolerated the heat and the dust, and learnt (thanks to Hobson-Jobson) to say “There was a banker” when they wanted doors shut! Now, they just have to pretend to be us for a fortnight without leaving the comfort of their home. What could be easier than that?
As for us, our incomplete stadiums won’t go entirely for waste either. We could always hand them over to Mani Shankar Aiyar for him to perform his Varuna yagnas. God knows we need the rains.
It’s a winning proposition for everyone, mind it! Now, let the Blighty Games begin…