Monday, October 4, 2010

Our Cultural Heritage shown beautifully at the NOW most talked about Common Wealth Games 2010 Opening Ceremony!

I am writing this post happily with goose bumps now, today after watching the Opening Ceremony of the 19th Common Wealth Games 2010, last evening (3rd Oct. '10). We heard so much bad news about the preparation for the CWG that everyone was scared to watch anything concerned with CWG! Every person, from the media - TV or newspapers, were so happily reporting about the flaws in the preparation of the venues for the CWG. It is always said that the 'negative news' reaches fast than the 'positive news' - this time, the whole world is awed by the way we showed how much we are capable of 'preparing' for the first step, 'Opening Ceremony', in a grand manner without a single flaw.

I and my family sat in front of the TV with a bored attitude to watch the Ceremony for sometime and then go to sleep, but we were in for a pleasant shock...we sat until the end of the ceremony!

We (our crowd at the stadium) gave proper welcome with applause when Prince Charles, his wife, our President, PM entered the Royal box. The faces of the other politicians were not shown much too! After Prince Charles read his mother Queen's message, I liked the way our President said in a loud voice declaring the 'games BEGIN'. She looks so timid and stern faced otherwise! Oh, I am happy, happy, writing this post and so everything looks happy, don't you think so?!

Our 'favourite' Suresh Kalmadi gave the welcome speech! While welcoming the guests, he mentioned about Dr.Abdul Kalam and the whole stadium roared and applauded happily...people seem to love him even now! And the claps were louder for Sheila Dixit too...I remember her saying in an interview that 'I will be blamed for everything which goes wrong in the CWG, even for the Delhi traffic jams'! When Kalmadi mentioned the name of Vajpayee, the crowd cheered! We are still a tolerant and friendly people....the world will know from the cheers we gave for the Pakistani contingent, when they entered the arena! The Australians, the British players and all the players from 71 Common wealth countries who participated in the march, were all happy, no one showed their unhappiness about anything, their stay here or the food or the treatment given to them.

The BBC : They have given the news like live commentary,

BBC Sport's Gordon Farquhar:

On Twitter: "England in costumes reflecting Indian dress, with red 'Nehru' style waistcoats over white collarless tops and white trousers." hahaha!

BBC further says:

'here comes the host India, to an extraordinary ovation from most of the 60,000-odd inside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi. How they must have thought at times this moment would never come. Everyone's on their feet.'

"The Indian athletes looked like royalty in their smart traditional maroon tops with gold braided scarves. Slick and sensational," NDTV says!

Now, about the cultural events:

The main attraction of the event was the aerostat (helium balloon), measuring 40x80m which was in the air 25 m above the ground level. It reflected the events which was happening in the ground. The culturals started with Shankhnaad (conch sound) which is auspicious for us and the balloon slowly raised up. Then came the giant sized floating puppets...beautiful. It was nice to watch and slowly our interest too lifted up!

The shape of the center stage looked fantastic. It depicted the yagna kunda (where we make poojas)! The artists came out from a door beneath the stage!

Next came 'Rhythms of India' with drums (taal vaadhya or percussion?!) of different types like dhols, dholaks, tabla and drums, from different regions of India played by 800 drummers, Nagada tribals and chendai vaadhyam from Kerala. I must mention about the small boy, 7 year old Keshav, a miniature of Zakir Hussain, the Tabla Maestro, who happily drummed and captured the hearts of the people! When different types of drums played, the rhythms changed and the boy changed his rhythm accordingly with a bright smile on his face! Shall I say this was the best, no there was yet more to come!

The second part of the video shows 'Swaagatham' song, sung by Hariharan! The Delhi school children performed beautifully with smiling faces for this song. They formed two 'folded hands' as if saying 'Namaste' to the guests, on two sides of the stage along with bangles in their wrists!
Then, the children drew the figure of two palms with mehandi, on the white sheets, with the sound from the drummers, which is a 'shubh' symbol for us!


Now, the title of the next item was 'Tree of Knowledge', i.e. our 'Guru Shishya' tradition. The colour of the whole Nehru stadium changed according to the theme of the song alongwith the balloon colour. The whole programme was reflected in the balloon too. In this segment our country's different dance forms were shown as reflection of our seasons. For spring, Odissi (Orissa), for summer, Bharatnaatyam (Tamilnadu), for monsoon, Kathak (Bengal), for autumn, Manipuri (Manipur), for fall, Mohiniattam (Kerala) and for winter Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh). On the whole, around 500 dancers participated in this show, it seems. Great. After the last dance, a figure of Gautama Buddha emerges from the centre of the stadium. The cheers from the crowd was deafening...!

Don't miss to watch this video of the dances:

Then, came the world famous 'Pathanjali Yoga', which belongs just to our country! The children performed all postures of yoga - yoga mudras. Yoga is the best way to keep fit, esp. this is important for our sportsmen. The commentator explains about the 'kundalini' too. I noticed once again that all the children were cheerful throughout the was quite late at night and they didn't look tired too, amazing!
They must have been looked after well with love and affection throughout their training period!

The last but one segment was, 'The Great Indian Journey'. Our Indian Railway takes us to the rural India showing the day-to-day scenes of our villages, towns etc. They showed the milkmen riding around on bicycles, women carrying pots of water (Rajastani women with 5-6 pots on top of one another!), tea stalls, chaaiwala, rickshaw pullers, politicians in a white ambassador with 4-5 speakers (!), street circus, a wedding band, a bangle vendor, a village movie theatre with huge cutouts of our Bollywood actors. A Shah Rukh look-alike sings 'Chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya' song dancing on top of the train! They showed the Mumbai 'dabbaawala' too! And much much more...!

Don't miss to watch 'The tribute to Mahatma Gandhi - his Dandi yatra' (9th minute in the video). Some artists drew the 'dandi yatra' scene with their fingers on sand on a table. That was very beautiful! 'Vaishnava janato' song was heard in the background (flute - so peaceful sound!), followed by Indian folk dances.

The last segment was the theme song by our A.R. Rahman. We never saw any resemblance to films, Bollywood or Kollywood or Tollywood, throughout the ceremony, which is very rare, here, in India. The common notion is that nothing sells without the filmy connection, whether it is our festival or temple celebrations. The whole audience sat and watched the whole programme with full enthusiasm, which is unbelievable! The last song of Rahman had some touch of Bollywood and he sang 'Jai Ho!', which has become stale now and boring. All of us know that he has produced better songs than these two songs.

I was very very happy throughout this day, re-living the celebration of our Indian culture in the name of 'CWG Opening ceremony'! Hope you will not mind going through this long post! We watched the whole programme in DD national, which is very rare, nowadays!


Edited to add (5.10.10): This post is dedicated to the children/artists who performed so gracefully and wholeheartedly and to the teachers who trained them with dedication. Thank you!


Anonymous said...

I watched the entire ceremony (except for the athletes parade ;-)) on BBC live. It was super awesome!! But then I read this post by Greatbong, and I felt a little sad too.

Anonymous said...

I didnt watch the ceremony, although while the media ran a kill the CWG campgain, I was quietly hopeful that the games will be a success...

In India, no venture in which the Govt is involved ends without corruption so it just didnt surprise me, what took me by surprise is the way everything was being put in the open when things were on an International stage... !! we did wash some dirty linen in the public... the worst is that even after all this, no one is interested in punishing the people who took the money... the media gots its share of TRP's ... after a while they dont care how much Kalmadi made... and even worse is even we dont care... !!!

I will take your work that opening ceremony was a success.... the news folk seemed to be discussing it too...

Sigh... sorry for not sharing the excitement... !

Sandhya said...

writerzblock: Yes, I know that Kalmadi & his party have swallowed and wasted our - tax payers' money without a tiny bit of conscience, Pallavi. Now, it has become the norm in our political circle. I wonder if we can see even a single politician like our Lal Bahadur Shastriji who was true to his conscience.

But we can appreciate the artists who did their job very well, forgetting the dirty side, for a while, don't you agree?

I will read greatbong's post now and get upset!

hitchwriter: The only thing we can do is vote them out in the next election and we have got the right to do so. But do you have in mind, a good political party, forget about party, a single raising politician whom we think will do something concrete to our country? Or is it ever possible, since we are already sinking in corruption? The politician who tries to be sincere also will slowly change in time, since he needs money to feed his Ministers if he has to stay in limelight. Otherwise, he cannot stay as a leader.

We can appreciate the artists and be proud about our cultural background, Dhiren!

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely account of the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games!

With all the controversy that has been going on for the past few months, it is a miracle that the ceremony was as spectacular as it was.

I do hope that the rest of the proceedings go smoothly too.

Of course, I also hope that when the games are over, the people who indulged in so much corruption are brought to justice...

Swaram said...

It was spectacular indeed. Ya, there r tales abt hw our hard-earned money has been gobbled up, but there's nothing new abt it :(
Our unity in diversity was exhibited so well and it def. gives us a sense of pride :)
Dr.Kalam so deserves the respect alva :) Amazing personality indeed :)

Sandhya said...

Manju: Yes, I too hope that things go well until the games are over and we are made proud to have some golds or silvers to adorn for the last minute efforts our Govt. has taken to conduct the games decently. Hope the Govt. takes some steps hereafter at least to promote sports from the school level. Just cricket is not the only one sport we can play.

Who will take action, the Congress party? They are the ones who are thriving now with all these treasures! Enough money or is it enough (!) is already made to help Rahul to run 10 elections!

Renu said...

so much of corruption spoiled my taste..I couldnt enjoy..I will feel happy only when the perpetrators get due punishment.

RGB said...

I missed out the last few programmes bcoz my eyes refused to stay open, but glad I got to catch-up on your post. It was a great show that the country has put up, and hope we stand resolute, proud and tall throughout the games!

BK Chowla, said...

It was surprisingly too good.
Did any one notice Kalmadi mentioning Dr Abul Kalam Azad insted?.Who is Azad?
Having mentioned Vajpayee's name, Kalmadi some day ,in some form will pay a heavy price.

KParthasarathi said...

It is a beautiful write up.The show might have been spectacular what with huge sums spent.Like the crowd that comes to eat the feast in weddings, we are happy at the glittering show accomplished.But our memory should not be short and gloss over all the misdeeds under a false notion that we should not decry our own people.Let the games comclude successfully.Let our participants amass all the medals and break records.
At the end after all the show is over, the guilty should be brought to book without fail. We have been put to shame>Let us not forget in the euphoria over the game or the feast.

Anonymous said...

That was one spectacular show and one spectacular write up :)

The artistes and the people who thought it up and put it together so beautifully certainly need to be congratulated and celebrated..

And as others have pointed out, we have to revisit the corruption aspect, see if the amount ofmoney spent on it(not the opening, the whole games) was in any way reasonable, and bring the guilty to book..once the games conclude.

Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

I saw the opening ceremony and it was good , they pulled it off it seems ...

i liked watching it glued to the tv and thank god for once i was happy i spent all that money on the 50inch tv it was worth watching on the big tele

i hope they are able to get the athletic track ready for tomorrow it still had some patches about half an hour ago fingers crossed

and and We already got the gold in wrestling.. wooo hooo at least our athletes are doing us proud THANK GOD for that .. Good luck to the Indian team :)

Bikram's Blog

Sandhya said...

Renu: You are dreaming Renu!

RGB: As of date we have got 5 gods! Hope nothing goes wrong hereafter! The whole world is waiting to see us make more mistakes!

BK Chowlaji: I didn't notice Azad's name!

He would have taken his superior's approval before uttering Vajpayee's name, Chowlaji!

K.Parthasarathy: Yes, I too hope that the games should conclude without anymore mishaps.

Punishing?! Who will punish whom?! If we throw them out during the next election, which better politician is there to take over and take action on these people? No one is there in the vicinity!

wordsndreamz: Yes, the show was too good to believe, Smitha! The children and the artists must have faced many hurdles before reaching this level, I feel.

We will wait and see what happens to these corrupt people, but now let us pray that the games should conclude without any further problems.

Bikram: 50" TV? Nice. I loved the colours they used during the dances.

We have got 5 golds as of date! Nazar na lag jaye!

Aparna said...

Beautiful narration of the Commonwealth Games ceremony. Just a point though, the Kathak is from Uttar Pradesh and not Bengal.
I loved the enthusiasm of the school kids. But Rahman left me disappointed.

radha said...

So far so good. I hope the games go off well. and I hope Kalmadi and his men are put in place after the games are over.

Kavita Saharia said...

It was awesome and after such a long long time i felt the same enthusiasm like that of watching Republic day parade on tv as a kid.I loved that finger painting show and all and all it was a perfect presentation.
After all depressing reports of our oor preparations the CWG opening was a pleasant surprise.
Even i felt that Jai-Ho sounded a bit stale.

R. Ramesh said...

could not watch the ceremony..hence i enjoyed reading the post more..thanks for sharing..keep the show going S..

Meghana said...

Indeed it was a good idea to focus on the Hindu heritage! One good decision by the gang who almost messed it all up.

Unknown said...

I watched most of the ceremony except for the athletes parade. It was surprisingly a well-organized one. The show brilliantly depicted the rich Indian culture.

I really liked the concept of Buddha rising from the ground with the seven chakras of yoga which according to me sent out the message that like the Phoenix, India is also rising from the ashes.

Unknown said...

The thing that made me laugh out loudly was when Suresh Kalmadi was reading his speech when he accidentally thanked Prince Charles and Princess Diana for attending the Opening Ceremony instead of Princess Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post! Thank you so so much, Sandhya for the links and giving us all a detailed account of the ceremony.I had only been able to watch the ceremony in bits and pieces. I'm glad I could see all that I missed, through your post :). That was a stellar show indeed. And I'm happy to see that the Games are being held very well and all our athletes are leaving no stone unturned to make our nation proud. I hope the Games are a huge success.

But what I also hope is that we dont forget about the corruption and mishandling of this project by our 'dear politicians'. Just because the games are a success should not mean it can nullify their wrongdoings. I hope they are punished and held accountable for they did.

PS: I really liked the dedication you added in the end :). The children, artists, teachers, they are the ones truly deserving of these accolades for the amazing show at the opening ceremony :)

Sandhya said...

Aparna:Thanks for pointing out about Kathak, Aparna!

Yes, Rehman was not upto the mark.

Radha: I am happy that we are scooping golds now! But I read many many negative news about the facilities provided for the players. Feel sad for them.

Kalmadi is not the only one who is behind the mistakes but his whole party is there. Who will punish them?

Kavita: Do you remember watching Republic day parade...even I do! Our whole family used to enjoy the parade. It is long time since we have done that though, now.

Yes, this was a pleasant surprise and we were not prepared for it! Now, watching again and again in bits here!

I didn't like 'Jai ho' from the beginning!

R.Ramesh: Enjoy, Thank you!

Meghana: Welcome here, Meghana!

Yes, this is one good thing they have 'performed'!

Sandhya said...

Akshay: Welcome here, Akshay!

I was pleasantly surprised by the way the organizers showed nearly all sides of our culture from different states of our country. Really, we should be proud to be Indian. The best was 'taal vaadhya', no, everything, I would say. Everyone performed whole heartedly and happily!

You are right, Akshay, we are raising slowly and steadily!

Prince Charles and Diana...isn't it natural? The great pair! He is going to be laughed at for this blunder for a long long time, more than anything else!

Thank you, for the comments, Akshay!

deepsspeaking up: Thank you for the cheerful comments, because I thought everyone would have watched this show and I took so much time to display them here...I wanted to watch them often, in the future and this is the easy way to do that! This is one positive news about our country now!

Our players are reaping gold, OK, this is just CWG, still...! I am happy!

Let us wait and see how much punishment (!) Kalmadi is going to face!!

Yes, they have boosted our hopes, Deepu!

Chandrika Shubham said...

A spectacular event. :) Foreign media also showers praises for this. :)
Kalmadi's speech : What a minute observer u r!

Haddock said...

It was in short what would be described in the market circles as "customer delight"

Sandhya said...

Chandrika Shubham: I think we are going to remember this event for a long long time...!

Haddock: We can call it in any name but it was superb!

Your bird posts are superb, Haddock!

R. Ramesh said...

netru thalaivar padam enthiran paarthen...should have learnt to whistle yar...

Rajesh said...

After all that disgrace, the opening ceremony was awesome.

R. Ramesh said...

nanri ya:)

kanagu said...

I don't know why.. I didn't seen the CWG opening ceremony.. have to watch those links given here :) :)

It ended well without mishaps.. I am happy about that :)

Roshmi Sinha said...

Nice write-up... we too enjoyed the show. The closing ceremony paled in front of it.

... and 73,000 crores of the tax payers' money will be swept under the carpet... no doubt. The signs are already there. The athletes and sportspersons who made us proud along with the performers, artists and volunteers have been smartly sidelined...

Kalmadi was not cheered even once... he was loudly jeered. He referred to Prof. Abdus Salam as 'Abul Kalam Azad' (our first education minister who has long left this world) and said that 'Prince Diana' was there. Wonder what Prince Charles and his consort would have thought!

... and the British press wasted no time in headlining these gaffes. But added that the Indian PM was asked to shift his seat to accommodate the President's wife. As far as I know our President is a lady and does not have a 'wife'! What is it that they say about people staying in glass houses should not throw stones at others...

Sandhya said...

Ramesh: Naangalum paarththaachchu! It was OK, haha!

Rajesh: Yes, for once our country was able to keep their head high!

Welcome here, Rajesh...sorry, for the delay in acknowledging your comment.

Kanagu: Did you watch them now?! I am late here in responding to you!

Roshmi Sinha: Nice to see you here, Roshmi!

All channels are showing now how much money was swallowed in every single item, the CWG OC spent for the 'arrangements'!

Yes, I noticed the guffaw of Azad and Diana...can't he even 'read' properly?! Shame on him!

Except Sonia, nobody else is given proper respect here, in our govt.! We have to put up with this govt, Roshmi, who else is there to take over in the next election one!

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