Most people believed that the preparations would go on until the end, much like what happens before an Indian wedding. But just like everything comes together seamlessly on D-Day for the wedding parties, so it was for the Commonwealth Games.
The Closing Ceremony on Thursday showcased the country's rich and varied heritage as the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games were officially declared closed in front of a capacity crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The venue shone from inside like liquid crystal and resembled a glowing flower from the outside, an aerial view on the two giant screens inside that captivated everyone.
The glory of sport was showcased in Agni, which displayed the confluence of martial arts from all over the country and paid tribute to those traditions. The eight-minute segment brought to fore some of India's lesser-known martial arts. Swords clanged with shields, and hundreds of spears and sticks were brandished. Metallic but musical sounds of the weapons filled the air as muscular, half-clad men pirouetted and twisted athletically around one another.
Another highlight was the performance by military bands. As 650 musicians from the Army, Navy and Air Force marched in, the crowd cheered wildly. With every precise footstep and drum beat, the band reminded one of school-time marchpasts. The unusual strains of the bagpipes played by the soldiers reverberated around to give the atmosphere an air tinged with sadness and gloom.
School children sang Vande Mataram and then it was time for the athletes' parade. Shooter Gagan Narang led the home contingent out, waving the flag. It was a riot of colours. Spotted in the parade were inflatable plastic hands, inflatable palm trees and sunflowers carried by athletes from Tonga, and even an inflatable red dragon among the Welsh contingent.
Volunteers danced and waved banners as players clicked photographs for their personal scrapbooks and albums.
After the Games flag was handed over, Glasgow rightfully took centre-stage as the blue and white colours of Scotland were waved around. Scottish elements were out in full force — bagpipers, tartan and kilts.
As Shankar Mahadevan crooned the hit Bollywood number 'Where's the party tonight', the crowd danced and jumped to indicate the place. And so the party finally ended. With a loud bang.