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Pind experience a far cry for foreign desis

Lassi, chicken curry, Chandigarh and a medal. The wish-list of defender Baljeet Singh is as unique as his personality.

india Updated: Oct 02, 2010 00:24 IST
Shubhodeep Chakravarty

Lassi, chicken curry, Chandigarh and a medal. The wish-list of defender Baljeet Singh is as unique as his personality.

The second-generation Malaysian hockey player, who's on his maiden visit to India, regrets not being able to get the authentic pind experience because of security concerns.

Athletes, especially those with roots in the country, will be restricted to the Games Village and competition arena during their stay in India.

The level of security that each contingent has been provided has not left room for excursions in the city, let alone to other states.

“My grandparents are from Chandigarh. Most of my relatives are in India and I want to meet them. After seeing the security arrangements, I think my interaction with them will be over the phone and their waving to me when I play,” lamented Baljeet, who's English has a strong Malay accent.

Although the Village has authentic Indian cuisine, a grocery store and handicrafts bazaar, athletes feel it is like staring at a poster and imagining being there.

“I would want to venture out although the Village is self-sufficient. We may have a city tour sometime later but I am not sure about that. Considering the battery of policemen around us each time we step out, I am not too sure,” said Nuyoyang Bijaou of the Samoa Islands, who has his maternal uncle in Ashok Nagar.

While some of the contingents do plan to visit tourist destinations after the Games, for those who are trying to find their roots, it might be better to wait for another time. “We are organising a trip to the Taj Mahal after the 14th but the details are yet to be chalked out. There are a lot of hurdles that have to be cleared. For now, we are focussing on the competition,” said Rizal, a Malaysian team official.

Kumar Subramani, the team goalkeeper. “I want to visit a few places but don't know how things will work out. But all of that will be after we win that medal and see ourselves on the podium,” said the third-generation Malaysian who has roots in Chennai.