The Game That Will Get Us Gold

POV

The Game That Will Get Us Gold

Illustration: Saachi Mehta/ Arré

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s we close this Olympic season with the familiar chorus of “oh, that was close”, we can take heart from the fact that we have only one more Olympics to endure with this refrain. Come 2024, when India makes a bid to host the games, we are likely to open a whole new chapter of “Olympic fails”, such as hosting swimming events in floodwater, and introducing a 100metre obstacle race with crater-sized potholes. When this happens, we are likely to make such colossal asses of ourselves that not winning enough medals despite being a billion-strong country will be the least of our problems.

But before all that happens, Bharat will protest the bid. Bharat will blame India and India will blame Bharat. Bharat will pose questions like: When so many people are dying of hunger, shouldn’t we focus on feeding them and not constructing a games village that will later be used for political rallies and dharnas? Then a political party will name a stadium after its leader. And when a new political party comes into power, it will rename the stadium after its leader. Social commentators will blame political hubris and compare hosting the Olympics to hosting a wedding in Delhi, where everyone is served liquid gold with their vodka, but after the hangover has passed, nobody will remember what the fuss was about. Political commentators will call out “Western influence”, and compare the Olympics to McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. Arnab Goswami will get a week’s worth of fodder for his heavy metal show, during which everyone will pass the parcel.

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