Tuesday 21 September 2010

Commonwealth countdown

Two tourists from Taiwan were shot and wounded on Sunday by random gunmen on a motorbike at the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi: possibly terrorists, possibly linked with threats to the security of the Commonwealth Games that begin there in a fortnight, possibly not.

The Baby and I went there when we were in New Delhi last November, all tourists do, it's a stunning place: old red stone, wide staircase up to the entrance, obligatory robe over our clothes, and then inside to a vast open area which must be an astonishing sight when it's full of men praying, though of course then we wouldn't be allowed in. The views over the city, though hazy, are tremendous too.
I do hope the Games go ahead as they should. It's disappointing to hear that even now it's not certain that the NZ team will attend because of security fears. Not that I'm a big (or even miniscule) sports fan, but I can understand how much work the athletes have put into priming themselves for the competition, and I certainly know how eager they are in India to host the event.
The traffic was even more horrendous than usual in November, thanks to road closures and construction going on at a frantic pace to get ready for the opening - and two weeks out, apparently they're still not quite ready, so I can only imagine the 24/7 feverish work taking place right now. But there was also great excitement, and pride, and anticipation, and such huge effort going into it, that it would be tragic if terrorists were to get their way and prevent the Games going ahead, or even to diminish them.

I know a lot of poor people have been evicted without compensation to build the facilities, and that looks - is - bad. There's so very much poverty in India though, it's always, will always, be part of life there. It's something that's hard to grasp the reality of, until you've seen it for yourself: the people living on the streets, on traffic islands, under bridges.

Stopped at traffic lights, we watched a little boy wearing a false Maharajah-type moustache and playing a drum while his even littler sister danced and did somersaults. It was disturbing but also kind of heartening that they were trying so hard to make a living. I'm still sorry the lights changed before I could get my purse out. But when the Games are on, times should be good for them.


the queen said...

It is sad to say that I thought "why terrorism? People Are shot at random every day. "

TravelSkite said...

Sad indeed. But it must be worse to have to live alongside people who do it as a mission rather than through insanity or mindless stupidity. Either way, though, innocent people end up dead.


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