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Well begun is hearts won

Backyard cricket, flying tram, illuminated orbs, Couta boats on the Yarra river, starfield, collapsing spire on LEDs (light emitting diodes)...

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 19:02 IST

Backyard cricket, flying tram, illuminated orbs, Couta boats on the Yarra river, starfield, collapsing spire on LEDs (light emitting diodes)... No mate, that’s no circus. It’s just a glimpse of the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the XVIII Commonwealth Games on Wednesday. In fact, it’s a spectacle that can only be felt and not described. Yet, we are sticking our necks out to match the event with words.

The ceremony was spectacular because simplicity was the motif of the show. For the first time perhaps an opening ceremony spilled out of the main arena. It was not restricted to ‘The G’ but was splashed across the entire city that swayed to the beats radiating from the stadium. The show was a fusion of yesterdays, todays and tomorrows. A fusion of man’s aspiration, hope and struggle, symbolised by a little boy trying to save a duck.

The most attractive part of the evening was the fabulous display of fireworks. Sparked off at times in tandem across the entire city, it transformed the ceremony into a carnival. Even deep into the night, Melburnians were thronging the streets and celebrating each moment as if there’s no tomorrow. Interestingly, the ceremony began with cricket, though that part was not very interesting. But as the minutes ticked towards the real show, the intensity picked up and the 80,000-strong crowd got involved.

The real show opened up with a flying tram descending on to the main LED stage, unloading hundreds of singing and dancing performers dressed as ordinary Melburnians.

“It was a dream-come-true,” said Caitlin Lamout, a sixteenyear-old student from Rowville. She was one of the musicians who were playing the trumpet. Her schoolmate Bonacci was accompanied by his mother and she seemed elated. “He didn’t even tell me what he was doing at the opening ceremony,” said his mother. “We were under oath,” said Victor.

The tram was followed by an opera featuring a little boy and his toy duck on a magical journey through a dreamlike version of Melbourne. Amidst multisized koalas and winged creatures, he went on with his rescue act of the duck.

Indigenous culture was also highlighted with a group of Victorian community elders and traditional owners draped in possum skin coats.

The Indian contingent made its way after Brunei and looked at ease. “It was an honour to carry the flag of my country,” was what Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had said. Chin up and chest out, the Olympic silver medallist led the team on to the main stage, raising the hopes of a billion people.

Then the Queen Elizabeth II declared the Games open.