India was so excited about Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and we were preparing for it for years. The Indian government was saying so many things like a lot of money would come, tourism will increase, we will get international identity… which is in fact true if we would have organized it well but because of the corruption everything turned out to be just opposite of what the government was promising. We lost billions of rupees, less tourism this year and very had reputation all over the world.
I was always suspicious if were prepared to host this huge event and I always had this idea that it was going to be bad for us and same thing happened. The bridge which was being built for the visitors collapsed only a few days before the event, how is this possible? and then Chief Minister of Delhi Sheela Dixit says that fortunately there no foreigners when the bridge collapsed. What the hell is this. We were told by the government of India that the total budget of the games would be close to Rs. 16.2 billion ($365 million) but the final costing was Rs. 300 billion ($2.6 billion). How this huge difference is possible?
The games were full of corruption and I am sure that all the government officers and people involved in the games ate all of that money. They were holding the tickets hoping for foreign visitors to come and buy them but finally they had to give free tickets to the school kids so that they could show that stadiums were full. Games village was also a great example of the corruption involved in the games. They had built several flats for the players and we were always getting news that the roof was leaking, the bed was broken, the toilets were super dirty, animals were here and there, cobra snakes were also found… I don’t know what to say about this.
When I was doing my tour guide training last year in Gwalior, we were told several times by professors and tourism ministry officers that a lot of tourists would come to see commonwealth games in India and this was the only reason why our training was organized and we needed to ready to work hard but in reality not even regular number of tourists came. I think it happened only because of all the news people were getting all over the world. And of course the news said nothing nice about India and commonwealth games.
An Australian journalist was able to walk with a bomb inside the games village and nobody check him. What kind of security arrangement was this? Anyways, the government must have realized how happy people were by their corruption by the hooting on Kalmadi during the inauguration ceremony. I hope that government learnt something and would not even think about hosting any other event like commonwealth games in near future but the biggest question is that does government ever learn?
A boy busy with his kite
It was kite festival on the 14th and 15th which I like a lot. I used to fly kites for at least four-five months a year but stopped doing it about six-seven years ago. Now I fly kites only on this festival. This festival is called Khichadi. Khichadi is a dish also and everybody cooks Khichadi for this festival. It has a religious importance to donate something on this festival day and everybody makes some donation. I have been donating my blood on this day for the past ten years but I could not do it this year.
I went to the hospital but they did not take my blood because I was suffering from cold and cough. I will go after a week again and make the blood donation. I flew few kites but not as much as I was expecting. I had bought about fifty kites but I few only five. My friends flew other ones. This festival more kind of family festival. People come on the roof, they have loud music, Khichdi and kites for the whole day. The number of kite flyers have decreased a lot now. The whole sky used to be stuffed with the kites but now its not like that.
Sky full of kites
A lot of parents do not want their kids to fly kites because they relate kite flying with bad-kids. They love taking their kids to McDonalds and get them all the garbage food with Coca-Cola but kite flying is not good for them. I think it is okay. It is thousand times better than sitting in front of a TV and watching all the politics. There is a bad thing also about this festival that few kids fall off the roof. Sometimes they die also. I think every year almost 15-20 kids get injured and maybe one or two die. But its fun to fly kites.
This guy had a big music system on roof
The other danger thing about kite flying is new and done by Chinese. Now we have Chinese strings which has a lot of iron in it. Its obvious to get a little cut on fingers while flying kites but if there is Chinese string then one can get tetanus if not takes any injection. The other dangerous thing about Chinese strings is that it can give you a electrical shock if your strings touch any electrical wire. And off course all of our electricity wires are open in Varanasi. Indian string has only glass powder and is more safe than Chinese one but a lot of people prefer Chinese one because it is stronger than Indian one, its sad.
Kites & Kites & Kites...
I ask my foreign friends about their kites in their country and it sounds like their kite flying is boring. Once I asked about kites to Adam, my friend in Chicago, and he was proud to say that he can turn the kites to different sides, even spin them around. He said that they he has some stuff from which he can add more than one string to kite if he wants to spin them around or turn them towards different sides. I laughed when I heard this because we also do the same thing but with only one string. I showed him our kites he was wondering how is it possible to spin a kite around with only one string.
I asked him if they cut others’ kites or not and he said “NO”. I think it will be no fun if you can not cut other kites down. He watched our kites and was shocked to see us spinning kites around with one string and cutting other kites down. You have to have some techniques to cut other kites down. We have an international kite festival this year in Gujarat where a lot of people from different countries will come to participate. But no need to say that either India, China or Pakistan wins the competition.