Why I’m Leaving Delhi During the Commonwealth Games
Though much of the hype has died down, about two weeks ago the Commonwealth Games (CWG), set to start tomorrow in Delhi and last until October 14th, had been getting a lot of bad press. Indian media had worked itself into a frenzy talking about the corruption surrounding the Games, the dirty, unfinished state of the athletes’ accommodations, the potentially-dangerous construction of venues and footpaths, the risk for dengue from too much standing water, and the traffic jams that will ensue once the athletes arrive and the designated Games’ Lanes, that reserve one lane of traffic for CWG vehicles only, go into full use.
The media seems to have moved onto other stories now, which suggests that much of the bad press surrounding the Games was little more than media excitement and exaggeration. Still, with all of this commotion, many expats and Delhiites were planning to take a vacation and skip on out of Delhi during the Games.
Originally, I was not part of this group. I was planning to stay in Delhi throughout the the eleven days of the Games, and was even looking forward to it! I was excited to watch the opening ceremonies on TV and know that all of that was happening just down the road; I was excited to see Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium lit up at night with colorful lights; and most of all, I was excited for visitors to be able to see Delhi as more than just a dirty, corrupt, and dangerous city as it has been portrayed in the media.
So, I was revved up for the CWG and ready to go. In fact, the only minor thing that I wasn’t looking forward to were the traffic jams on Lodhi Road, which had already doubled my daily commute time.
But then, I was offered the option, through my job, to travel outside of Delhi during the entire eleven days of the Games. I actually turned down the offer at first, saying that I would prefer to stay in Delhi, but then I realized that I was being presented with an opportunity to travel – all accommodations arranged and paid for – to several places in central India that I hadn’t yet been, including Varanasi, Sarnath, and Bodhgaya. So, I’ve decided, like many others, to leave Delhi during the CWG. (Which means that this one will be an incomplete on my India To-Do List.)
This brings me to my next point. I’ll be taking a short break from writing, since I will be without my computer and without internet during my travels. When I come back, though, I’ll have plenty of photos and stories to share!
Delhi, meri jaan, I’ll miss you, but I hope that you shine during the Games and prove to everyone who doubted you what a wonderful city you really are.
Click on these links to read about my ten days of travel outside of Delhi in Madhya Pradesh, Sarnath & Bodhgaya, and Varanasi.