Watching athletes with diamond-shaped cheekbones, aquiline noses and jaws chiseled to perfection, stride with the grace of a gazelle on the tracks can be a cathartic experience.
Sport, in moments like these, where the human quest to break the barriers of speed brings out the instincts of a hunter in a person, can be exhilarating — worth sacrificing a lifetime for the joy it gives.
All those who witnessed the 5,000 metre race where the Ugandan Moses Kipsiro managed to skim past the Kenyan challenge, would have gone through the gamut of emotions, leaving them stimulated, but also, finally, exhausted.
Then there was the raw energy and power of the sprinters, who ran at such a demonic speed that you feared for their lungs.
The athletics competition, despite the likes of Usain Bolt missing, still has a world class feel about it, unlike most other events. But, sadly, the galleries were missing.
I can understand why! It was with much anxiety and nervousness that Delhiites and others lucky enough to be obliged with tickets priced at an obscene R 50,000, 25, 000 or 10 and five thousand, queued up hours before the opening ceremony. Thousands, old and young, waited, with no one to control or guide the crowd. Someone could have died in a stampede, or choked from the stench of the nallah flowing alongside.
Divine mercy helped thousands finally get inside without mishap, and most forgot the humiliating ordeal in the ceremony’s razzle-dazzle, which had even the foreign press in a tizzy — though most missed the patronising tone in the lines that stated India had done it without glitches and delays.
Now that our sportspersons are doing us proud by winning medals at a rate we have never done, even in the Commonwealths, the event has aroused both interest and passion. But the stands are still not overflowing, even where Indians are winning.
Instead of tying up with schools and colleges and ensuring access to venues, Delhi chose to close them down to ease the pressure on traffic.
The scandalous disappearance of tickets was highlighted by this paper, but even with tickets, reaching the venue is an ordeal. The long walks and stifling security have the feel of a garrison. It is quite amazing then, that despite all this, thousands still do not want to miss watching India win, but, does anyone care?