It's a good thing there was no newspaper today. I'm weary of the stream of bad news about the Commonwealth Games, and any form of respite from it, even the absence of my daily paper, is something I welcome.
I mean: a false ceiling collapsing? A bridge collapsing, injuring 27 people? Athletes quarters that are described as "filthy" (check these photos)? A Games official explaining that by saying foreigners have different standards of cleanliness that we do? Bamboo screens to hide slums? Tens of thousands of Delhi-ites thrown out of their homes and the city? Corruption on what looks like an immense scale? Officials from other countries complaining about the "indifference and intransigence" of Indian officials faced with these concerns? All this a day before the first athletes are to arrive, ten days before the Games are to start?
And I'm not even mentioning the security issues, which are another kettle of pomfret altogether.
Does none of this shame the organisers? Or forget as empty a thing as shame and ask instead: why has none of this spurred them to deliver the goods, on time and to standards, instead of delivering excuses? Isn't that a natural thing? (It once happened to me, is why I'm asking).
There is one silver lining to this enormous fiasco. If the Games really turn into the disaster that seems more likely every day, perhaps it will be the kick in the behind that will turn us into what we should have been all along: unforgiving and intolerant of corruption.
I mean that in every sense of the word you can think of. Yes, including bamboo screens and throwing Indians out of their homes.
It's a slim hope, but I'll cling to it.
(Dileep Premachandran had much the same thought, and puts it this way: "For the sake of future generations, perhaps we should hope that it all goes belly up. Only then might we see a generation of parasites evicted from the rotting carcass that they have reduced Indian sport to.")