Memo from Connaught Place - The Games Mood is Getting Better

Memo from Connaught Place – The Games Mood is Getting Better


Delhi is getting optimistic.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

The mood about the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth games is changing. The media stories about missed deadlines, bad hygiene, shoddy renovation is growing paler. In the backdrop of a dazzling inaugural ceremony, Delhi is becoming optimistic. On the noon of October 5 The Delhi Walla was walking in Inner Circle, Connaught Place. The months-old scaffolding had gone and the colonial-era pillars were clean and white. Shop assistants were fixing plastic placards of Shera, the Games’s mascot, on their glass windows. Beggars were nowhere to be seen. The Khaki-clad young women, members of the first all-women force of Naga Police, were stationed with rifles as part of the unprecedented security for the Games.

I met, Jayant Kaul, a Games volunteer, in F-block. As liaison officer, he was in charge of Neville McCook, a delegate from Jamaica. He had brought the delegate’s wife to shop in Connaught Place. While she was busy in a showroom, Mr Kaul was helping himself with a samosa. A final year hotel management student, he said, “Mr McCook is very warm and friendly. I’m enjoying every moment of the Games,” I was also introduced to Fay Elliott, a Jamaican delegate and other fellow travellers from her part of the world. “I’m absolutely blown away by Delhi’s size,” said Ms Eliott. “Also, all the preconceived idea I had got about Delhi from the foreign press has been thrown out of the window. They are not true. I’m delighted to be in your city.”

The Games delegates and the volunteer (Fay Elliott, Sonia McCook, Ionie Knight and Jayant Kaul)


The Naga security


Hello Shera


Volunteer spotting


Shera spotting