"Money can't buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy" - surely something that Mr. Kalmadi & Co. were not aware of and would not be too, had not the 'Peeplis' got behind 'em. The expose by one of the Peeplis and the continuous badgering thereafter has or must have almost convinced K & Co.into believing that they were indeed responsible for this blitzkrieg of corruption & chaos, even if there were remote chances that they were not.
But then, thats besides the point. What is in it for the 'Mango Men' or 'Aam Aadmi'? K & Co. have squeezed the lime to its maximum with Government as share-holders, Peeplis have got the eyeballs that they longed for, but what about the Mangos...thenga. The hula and the hype over the Commonwealth Games over the past year and a half; thanks goodness the preparations didn't start earlier or else by now the Indian Government would have called for World Aid for hosting the games; has left the common man completely disillusioned, disheartened and helpless. What was in store for him though - better infrastructure, better roads & better transport - all of which are at the expense of more taxes on incomes, better houses at INR 2½ Crs+, better hotels to wine, dine & stay in and abracadabra...believe ot or not...better, if not the best, games. What else does the common man need? Phir Bhi Yeh Dil Maange More...
But then the irony of this entire episode is the Mango Man himself - ask him and he shall tell ya - I am proud to be an Indian, this is the moment of India's pride. we are the host - Atithi Devo Bhava...kinda become a cliché. Over the past 50-60 days, many learned Mangos, who appeared on Peeplis, even went to the extent to say that K & Co. are indeed best suited to run the games and see it to the finish - whatever they have or may have done is something that we could look into after the games are over. Ahhh...now i know why my mom used to say - there is no use crying over spilled milk. By the time the games are over, the milk would have been spilled further and licked away dry by many more Co's. And whats the justification - Its a matter of national pride and if the organization is hindered now. the national pride is at stake. WHERE IS THE NATIONAL PRIDE MANGOS? - it has been made a mockery of globally and we have become nothing short of a laughing stock.
In end-July, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) released a report detailing gross irregularities in several CWG projects including - contracts being awarded at higher prices, dismal quality assurance and works being awarded to ineligible agencies, et al. Who pays - Mango Men, of course.
Well, while the learned Mangos call this selfless pride - on the other hand, a chosen few who may exist far and wide in this country, term it as an act of utter foolishness, ignorance and cowardice. We just can't stand up to such gruesome acts of fraud, forgery and cheating - cos' we are all selfishly indulgent and embroiled in our daily lives and our only response - who cares; what will happen - nothing; why waste our time...but call us on National Peeplis and we are out there passing judgments on how to be better citizens and how should we acting on and taking a stand against such criminal acts - c'mon,
I ask - Why host the Commonwealth Games at all? is it really required at such times - when terrorists & naxals are aiming at destroying peace & property, poverty levels are peaking, economy is slipping...I don't know the answer cos' its a YES and a NO both.
Globally games or events like these, when held are aimed at bettering the overall identity of a city and the nation, on the whole. They are aimed at creating a 'destination' with better visibility and personality. A few years back, when I was personally involved in a branding exercise and was in discussions with an agency of global repute - I was told how a city hosting a major games event managed to create an unending and unbelievable lasting impact, how a brief aimed at creating a logo for the games culminated in a much larger branding exercise for the entire city, even extending in parts to the entire country and how it resulted in that same location being now looked at as an international destination of repute. Such events help in upliftment of not just economic activities, but also largely impact the social and cultural strata. For e.g. Chinese taxi drivers being asked to learn English prior to the Beijing Olympics or the large number of theme colonies in South Africa prior to WC 2010 to cater to foreign visitors from across and around the globe. In fact, there is so much happening globally, that several creative agencies offer something called 'Destination Branding' as one of their services and whats more surprising is that they are much sought after.
So its a complete YES to the Commonwealth Games being held at home - provided this is what we envision to happen.
Why NO? This is not what we envision to happen - not locally, not at a city level and not nationally, of course. Our outlook towards the games is limited to those 50-odd days when athletes, who by the way shall be participating in these games, shall be running, jumping, swimming, cycling, et al for their respective nations. Okay they would have some spare time, we hope, when they would tour & visit places, shop and do some sight-seeing - and our economy would get a huge boost in 20-25 days what we have struggled to achieve in the past 63 years.
So where are we going with this; you may ask - Whats in it for the Mango Men? NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING and thats the not-at-all hidden truth to which we the Mango Men have complete indifference and chalta-hai attitude, probably at times also even wondering that we the Mango Men would be in the same shoes as K & Co.
Noted author and cartoonist R. K. Laxman has, for over 5 decades, rightly represented the hopes, aspirations, troubles and perhaps even foibles of the average Indian...the Common Man and to this day, the Common Man acts as a silent witness to all the action in the comic. Not very different, right?
So, the next time you say, you are proud to be an Indian - think...there is still a lot that we, each one of us, need to do for this beautiful nation of ours, the mesmerizing cultural diaspora and the hordes of people mingled within for a better future of our children so that they can say without a blink in their eye - I am proud to be an Indian.
As I said in my introductory blog, this is the beginning. There's more to come...