Delhi closed the 19th Commonwealth Games in spectacular style on Thursday — a Bollywood finale during which not only the crowd but athletes on the field, TV crews and young helpers swung and shook to the best-of-Bollywood medley.
Best of all, some journalists who perhaps had spent weeks cataloguing corruption allegations, filthy athletes’ flats and half-empty stadiums that hobbled the Games, clapped along and jigged their shoulders in between typing their story for the night on laptops. Others, though not all, smiled and clapped and the mood felt good.
The media’s relationship with the Games and its organisers, especially its pantomime villain and chief local organiser Suresh Kalmadi, has see-sawed. Violent swings in how the Games were portrayed tested Indian authorities’ patience.
“Whatever small amount of credibility you the media had left before the Games has gone,” a top Indian bureaucrat said to me, as we were preparing for me to interview him.
“First you decide India is a shithole, and then suddenly it’s not a shithole.” Did he mean foreign media or Indian media? Both, he said.