A Letter to the President (राष्टपति/राष्ट्रपत्नी) of India!

Dear President of India,

I write to you as a proud citizen of India who is completely supporting the Commonwealth Games!

Being born and brought up in this country, I know that Corruption is our way of life for us Indians. We can't just ignore it. I feel very proud that the world, which earlier had just heard about corruption in India, now has witnessed it clearly. This is a proud moment for all Indians where we have to bribe the moment a child is born (to get his/her birth certificate) till he/she leaves the earth for heavens (to get the death certificate)!

I know that inflation is on the rise and no wonder the games budget increased many folds. I don't want to blame anyone for this. This was bound to happen with the circumstances around. There is no way we could have tacked it and given the priority of the games, am sure that this thing called inflation can 'definitely' wait 'indefinitely'!

The way I have seen Delhi turn into 'Mohenjo-Daro' (मोहन जोदड़ो) is awesome! I don't have any words left to describe the same. I am spellbound and have literally ran out of words. I mean, just think, "यहाँ भी खुदा है, वहाँ भी खुदा है ... दिल्ली में तो हर जगह खुदा है!". Its a spiritual experience for us living in NCR for the last 2 years or so. I am glad that though we won the bid for the games way back in 2003, the Government didn't float the first tender for the work to be completed, before 2008. This has really helped me live in a better way since 2003. Just imagine if we had started the work in 2003, me and millions like me, who came to this city for livelihood would have faced a lot of difficulties for 7 years! But thanks to the procrastination of the Government, we were saved of the trauma for at least 5 years. I am very proud of this!

We see GOD in every child! Though I don't believe in GOD, there are millions in this country, who believe in the almighty. Can you imagine the pleasure of entering the stadiums which were built by GODs? I can!!! Having seen child labor all over the place during the construction of the CWG venues, I am very proud that the venues have been touched and built by GODs! Children as young as three have been seen working in dangerous piles of rubble on a construction project that has already killed at least 45 people, including a two-year-old girl! A fete certainly to be very proud of!

I know we don't have enough funds to compensate the children and families who were exploited building the CWG stadiums, including those who died during its construction. We are a poor country and the very fact that many funds were directed towards the success of the games, I can very well understand your limitations. We can't support the poor. The so called 'National Pride' is at stake and we must make these games successful … we have to!

Today I also heard that there is a debate going on a topic – “Who will declare open the games on October 3rd?” I am surprised to see this kind of debate at this hour. Sorry, I am by now used to see things at the 11.59th hour in India, what I meant is, there is no question about this i.e. who will open the games. It should be you and only you. You are the first citizen of this country and a very proud one, given above all the facts. Please feel very proud when you declare the games open. We all Indians, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christians and every other religion, stand united behind you. We are also used to forget every grave problem that the country has faced in the past and no wonder we will be forgetting CWG by 15th October!

We are a country of snake charmers as most of the western countries believe and I am surprised that these very countries are complaining about snakes in the Games Village. How can they? Knowing that what we are, they holding a snake in hand and crying foul is unacceptable. I know you are deeply hurt by these kinds of events. I am also very happy with the ‘CWG Lanes’ and the Blue and Yellow colors on the roads everywhere in NCR. They make me feel colorful. Not to mention, with the snarling traffic, you get to see more colors of life which would not have been possible without these ‘CWG Lanes’. It’s just awesome! Never before did I spend an hour and thirty minutes to travel the 6 Km stretch to my office from home but with these lanes, I am enjoying the colors of life in the form of traffic jams!

I am also proud about the fact that the village was built on the banks of river Yamuna. What a feeling for those living there. With the scarcity of water in the village, the athletes can just walk to the river and do their things like washing, cleaning etc. This is called world class infrastructure. No western country will every understand this!

Last but not the least; we should also bid for the Olympics! This time we will raise the bar of corruption, one which no one has seen ever before. We have so many targets to achieve after these games. Education, poverty, unemployment, shortage of food grains; all these can wait but we should really focus on global events like the CWG or Olympics. We are a nation of billion dreams and now everyone has a dream, to see India bid and win the hosting of Olympics! With the present achievements at CWG 2010, I am pretty sure we have increased our chances many folds.

Before closing my letter, I would like to thank you for keeping people wait to reach the heaven by holding all the mercy petitions on your table. You're no less than any GOD. You have the complete right to justify your delay in awarding the death penalty to many a criminals and terrorists, who have killed innocent people in our country. I know that your first priority is the opening of the games and you should really stand by it. If India can wait for the stadiums to be ready by 3rd October, why can't some terrorists wait another few years?

Long live India and God (if there's any one) bless the country of billion dreams!

A Proud Citizen of India,


Why would I watch CWG Delhi 2010?

Whatever you think of it, I am surely going to enjoy the CWG this time! Frankly before this year’s event, I thought that the only games on mother earth are the Olympics! But now that I know that there is something called CWG and that Delhi city is hosting it, I am very eager to see the games. Not to mention, the reasons are mentioned in next paragraphs of this post.

It took Leonardo da Vinci at least four years to finish Mona Lisa so what if we couldn’t get Delhi ready for the games in seven years?

During 3rd till 14th of October, I will be in Delhi cheering for Mr. Kalmadi and my country... in that order! So stop being stupid & finding faults every now and then. Yes! A toilet paper can cost INR 4000.00! We have lots (read hell) going for us.  And let's prepare for the CWG. Give up your cars, your homes … Help the city, the nation and the games!!!

Indians politics and bureaucracy is about experience! Sheila Dikshit is the world's oldest aunty running a Government and Mr. Advani, the world's oldest dreamer of being a prime minister (I guess he still does dream). Suresh Kalmadi is the world's longest serving chief of a sports body (apart from Fidel Castro or someone with that name). These are things to be proud of for all of us Indians! After all, we are also proud to have the oldest parliament (in terms of age of the MPs) as well.

Day before yesterday, we people living in NCR felt the tremors of the earthquake. All of Mayawati's statues in NOIDA have survived the earthquake as well. She surely used unadulterated cement, any questions? And for those who don’t know, the earthquake in Delhi was a planned test-case - to see if the stadiums and flyovers will hold to the ground & will not succumb to the quake. Given how bad the traffic in Delhi is, it takes some time even for the tremors to travel from Delhi to NOIDA to Gurgaon to Faridabad to Gaziabad!

For that matter, Delhi citizens needn't be alarmed by tremors that were felt 2 days back. It's just the usual for us living in NCR. Digging roads and building them, again digging them, have some cables lying on the roadside, some cement bags here and there, some iron rods … its really very usual for us. No surprise in that for NCR people.

The CWG has also helped Delhi to be ‘Air Ready’! I mean, just think of the new Airport (or runway, whatever it is). It’s awesome! We should really hope and look forward to no ATC/Radar failure and for sure the guests will be able to land here. Immigration staff at the airport will be working and not chewing paan and will cause less pain the eyes of the visitors.

So what if stars like Usain Bolt are not showing up? (I also heard from sources that Usain Bolt is running his fastest from the CWG 2010 and Mosquitoes) Our own stars will shine! We shall bring in several medals. The stadiums will have tracks which won't be submerged because there are not tracks there! You have to build the ‘lane’ in your head while running! The Games Village, which was unveiled and opened to the guests couple of days ago, will have water in taps and will not be itself in water. The mosquitoes will not be the ones which cause dengue, but the ones which are gentler on human body! Well, the CM of Delhi has already confirmed that ‘Delhi is Dengue Free’. I guess she meant, Dengue is Free in Delhi!

Trust me, I came to Delhi in 2003 and since last two odd years, it’s not the same city that it was! Well, it’s not the same if you visit the city in a week’s time these days. Thanks to CWG! I think, Delhi looks like Mohenjo-Daro (मोहन जोदड़ो) when it (मोहन जोदड़ो) was rediscovered in 1922 by Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay, an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India. You find more cranes in the city than you will find at any of the archeological survey sites in the universe! The cranes and the operators look like a deadly combo, which is on a mission to ‘re-discover’ Delhi! I think it should be declared heritage city with great walking tours because no cars can move on the roads these days and you have to be superhuman to walk on the Delhi roads.

(मोहन जोदड़ो - Could have been transformed into a CWG City with INR 34,000 Crores i.e.USD 7.5 Billion!)

I also think that Delhi should be declared world's first athletic city now. You have to jump so as to walk & you use all limbs to ward off Mosquitoes and manage the never ending potholes on the roads. The city will also become a heritage city soon (or it had already become one). With those loads of rubble lying everywhere, I think it's a sheer competition to मोहन जोदड़ो in 1922.

Many of the military services can also have Delhi as an ideal training venue. Where on earth a soldier can get more challenges than Delhi? And why you think these games are called ‘Common Wealth Games’? It’s not clear to me after seeing all this mess. When the Government is using ‘Common Man’s Wealth’ how can you NOT name the games ‘Common Wealth Games’? Do you have any answer? Then just shut up!

We are also offering a high speed train for the visitors from all over the world, to take them to Agra. But my only worry is, if they are crossing NOIDA mid-way, they might confuse Mayawati's statue for the Taj!

I think we will also take good care of the CWG athletes. By serving them spicy Indian food!!! It will kill two birds in one stone. First, the guests will enjoy real Indian spicy food and second, by the time they figure out where the latrine is, the games will be over. All the medals will be won by Indians and South Asian countries, which are used to spicy food!

The opening ceremony is going to be a high voltage affair. Now with a 60 Crores Rupees balloon, how can you expect something less? The ceremony will be a good show of our own (and usual) Bollywood stuff (do we care to showcase anything else to the world at such events?). And with the ‘cool’ (or cold?) theme song, we might as well fall asleep at the beginning of the ceremony itself!

ADVISORY FOR DELHI CITIZENS from DholiBaba: Schools are closed during the games, so send your children away. This is the best way to keep them away from mosquitoes (and Dengue) as well. Give up your travel and cars; else you might end up paying heavy fines for travelling on the CWG lanes. We have been used to filth and corruption all these years; don’t yell so much this time. Its national pride after all (read it ‘corruption’ or ‘games’ at your own 'discretion'). Enjoy the games!!!

कुछ तो बाकि है ...

And now some good thing about the CWG. There are people who believe in national pride and this one is a good example of the same. Surprisingly its associated with the CWG 2010!

Commonwealth Games has been embroiled in controversies with fresh allegations leveled against the organising Committee everyday. Some heads have rolled in the wake of damning allegations against hiring the services at exorbitant costs or using the services of little known firms. But this one deal that the organising committee made that it cannot be faulted for. The bid for manufacturing mementoes of the Games mascot for distribution among the participants was abysmally low, almost a third of the next lowest.

But then, for 63-year old Abninder Singh Grewal, a sense of national pride in being a part of Commonwealth Games was far more important than making money. So, the artist, who is engaged in making designer artifacts at Mohali adjoining Chandigarh, quoted a ridiculously low price for making miniature models of Shera, the mascot of the Commonwealth Games 2010 beginning in Delhi in October.

However, Grewal is relishing the challenge. He says, “I quoted a low price
because I just wanted to get the order. The consideration of profit and loss was secondary. I am proud that I have got the chance to contribute in a small way to this grand event being hosted by India.”

When Grewal quoted a price of Rs 650 per piece for the model which would be presented as a memento to the VIPs and top officials from various countries visiting the Commonwealth Games, the officials from the purchasing committing of the CWG were aghast. The next minimum price quoted by another firm was Rs 1,850.

“They were incredulous and sought assurance whether I would be able to
deliver at such a low price. I simply asked them to believe in me,” says Grewal who got the order through his liaison with Phulkari, the Punjab government’s handicrafts and handlooms emporium which stocks Grewal’s creations.

However, Grewal is intrigued by the small number of Shera models ordered to be made when thousands of athletes, officials and tourists would be coming to Delhi and would like to be presented with or purchase a Shera model. “Perhaps the
organisers realise there is no time left to place a huge order at such short notice,” he reasons.

For an artist, it has been a long and tortuous journey for Grewal who fought childhood debility that kept him bed-ridden for three years. “At that time I was 14. That is when I started painting and developed a key eye for art. There was nothing else I could do,” says Grewal who was once sarpanch of his native village, Nakoke in Patiala district.

He started making sculptures of women, Sikh personalities and motifs depicting Punjabi culture. However, fame came to him very late in life when he had almost decided to wind up his art workshop.

His creations are mostly in black stone (granite) or white marble. Now, he is engaged in making statues of decorated soldiers to be installed at war memorials. His sculptures of freedom fighters and deceased Punjab politicians are installed at traffic junctions in various cities of Punjab. But it is with Shera that Grewal has found a new identity.

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