In just about 2 months, the 2010 Commonwealth Games begin in Delhi. The host city has been undergoing a complete overhaul for this most anticipated event but apparently its not quite there yet. Not quite to some may seem like an understatement, particularly to those who feel that the city is presently in shambles to be the proud host of one of the biggest sporting extravaganzas. Residents, locals and sports fans are unsure of Suresh Kalmadi's capacity to deliver on his promises as the chairman of the organising committee. Well, however slow the progress has been, I hope Delhi pulls through like it has in the past and dazzles everyone at these games.
On the other hand, the Queens Baton Relay, one of the greatest traditions of the Games is on its last leg traversing the capital cities, evoking spontaneous enthusiasm and support in sports lovers across the nation. It will reach Delhi for the opening ceremony on Oct 3. The Baton reaches Guwahati, my hometown, in a day and the city has gathered up some of its finest sportspersons to welcome and spread the excitement of this much anticipated event. Among them will be my father. Yes, my Bapi. The ardent lover of sports. The once famous footballer who was instrumental in putting his small state on the map with his skillful, stylish play and sportsmanship. He will be one of the privileged few who will carry the baton at the ceremony being put together by the state officials.
It is indeed a great honor, he says to me this morning on the phone. I will have to run and with my bad knee, not sure if I will be able to, he worries. He is 82 years old and yes, his knee is bad. The knee that forced him to quit playing tennis in his later years. But he is determined to be there - to represent his state and country with delight, dignity and a pride filled heart. Apparently, he has been showing off to my brother how he will run albiet only a short distance.
Bapi, words defy me for I cannot articulate how proud I am of you. You are an inspiration to one and all. I know I won't be there when you run with the famous baton but I will be there in spirit, cheering you on.