You thought it couldn’t get grander than last night? Hold your horses — the Commonwealth carnival has just begun. And it’s not restricted to the Games Village or venues alone. Restaurants are doling out delicious special menus and discounts, the city streetscape is sparkling fresh, the fashion frat is turning the Games glam with specially designed outfits and jewellery, 17,000 vuvuzelas of the 50,000 in stock have been sold, and 30,000 volunteers have turned city celebrities.
"It’s an early Diwali this time," says Sunil Sharma, a gift-seller at Janpath, summing up the mood of the market. While Janpath, Connaught Place and Khan Market have been revamped, bars and food joints, too, have added the sports flavour to their menu with CWG special menus and CWG Happy Hours. "We are offering free welcome drinks to all CWG delegates and badge holders," says Sumit Gulati of Spice Market at Select Citywalk mall, Saket. Other eateries with special offers, even for enthusiasts, include Café Morrison, Moets and Mocha.
The real show stealers, however, are the 30,000 young Games volunteers. Welcoming foreign delegates, ushering in visitors, keeping order… you’ll find them just about everywhere. "It’s the coolest job. While everyone was guessing what the ceremony would be like, I actually knew," gushes 19-year-old Vipul Bakshi, an IP University student, who was posted at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium for the Opening Ceremony. "My father is proud to see me in CWG gear every morning," says Hansika Lohani, 19.
Then, there’s a fleet of 14 Ho Ho (Hop on, Hop Off) buses, which, painted in a pretty purple, will take Games travellers on Dilli
darshan. Tourists can hop on and off these wherever they like, as the service takes them sightseeing. That, though, will face tough
competition from the Delhi Metro, which has just launched a new corridor to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, and dressed up its stations in blue fairy lights.
The art circle, too, is high on Games exhibitions, with the Lalit Kala Akademi leading the way. For those who like art on their bodies, tattoo parlours are even willing to paint Shera on you. Welcome to the Games Capital.
Food and drinks
Popular restaurants all over the city are offering CWG special menus, happy hours and heavy discounts. Some of these include Café Morrison, Moets, Mocha, Gola Sizzler and Yum Yum tree.
Ongoing Games-related exhibitions include ‘Looking Glass: The Existence of Difference’ by the Religare Arts Initiative, ‘Celebrating Commonwealth’ by Gallery Ragini and Lalit Kala Akademi’s ‘Games and City’, showcasing the works of 112 prominent artists.
Priced at R250 and imported from China by ‘Premier Brands’, these can be picked up at the Games venues, Organising Committee office and official outlets of CWG merchandise. Of the 50,000 that were flown in, 17,000 have already been sold.