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India, Pakistan get the loudest cheer as children weave magic at a spectacular opening ceremony in the Capital, reports Somshuvra Laha.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2010 00:31 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times

It was never going to be a chest-thumping display of technological superiority. Why should a nation of more than a billion that has braved war, famine, flood and drought be deprived of the opportunity to literally handcraft a poignant welcome, one which will surely be etched in the minds of those who were present at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday?

Kudos then to the almost 2,000 children who painstakingly practised every little move for the last 60 days, including a synchronised namaskaram dance routine, and then perfected a mehendi out of bare hands, ink and hand-spun cloth, one that had even the foreign media persons joining hands in unprovoked and unrestrained applause.

The deep, melancholic voice of Hariharan which, along with the booming drum beats of various artistes kicked off a wonderfully choreographed, rich and vibrant display of what India truly is all about.

The constant reminder of the varied cultures hung large on 50,000 and more awestruck Indians through the helium filled aerostat, suitably accompanied by music and a confusing but enjoyable tapestry of 'welcome' written in different Indian languages.

By the time the audience had warmed up to the idea of enjoying their first tryst with international sport, Prince Charles had to wait till the spectators were done chanting "India, India."

More than anything else, it was the reception of the Pakistan team that had the entire media contingent pleasantly shocked. Maybe India has truly arrived.

The unapologetically inexpressive yet determined voice of top marksman Abhinav Bindra too added to that belief.

From a profound rendition of Buddham Saranam Gacchami' to a fitting tribute to the Father of the Nation, India couldn't have put a foot wrong on Sunday.

This was the day of the common Indian — from the doodhwalas of Patna, the dabbawalas of Mumbai to the rickshawwalas of Kolkata.

And then there was the magnificent A.R. Rahman who urged India one last time to move ahead.

And for those who were apprehensive of security issues or brittle iron pillars, no, there were no bullets fired. Nor did any stand collapse.

It's time to switch our minds from all that negativity that surrounded the build-up to probably the most successfully Commonwealth Games ever. Incredible India? Absolutely.

First Published: Oct 04, 2010 00:28 IST