Who stole my beer?
Journalists are fuelled by a steady diet of booze and nicotine. Invariably, the main press centre (MPC) of any big event will have a bar and usually beer on tap. Cigarettes are allowed through most stringent security checks and smoking areas are demarcated. No such luck at the CWG.
There is a promising sign proclaiming ‘Beer’ on a stall at the MPC but it resolutely remains shut. The extreme security at the Delhi CWG has consigned tobacco to be labeled as dangerous as any other explosive and hence, no cigar. Not only do the khaki-clad rob you of cigarettes, they
also believe coins to be dangerous weapons. A pile of both collects at each press entry. You may sneak some past one check point but with multiple scanning even the most adroit have to yield their cache.
The long queues on account of the screening — that too in the afternoon heat — makes for frayed nerves that could have certainly done with the surrogate balm later on. Beijing 2008 was the most vetted Olympiad as far as security goes. However, the Chinese had a precise method of doing things.
You were scanned once a day and if you did not leave the sanitized zone after that then you were never frisked again. The Chinese seem to understand that having a light draught and easing out in the stands is part of the culture of watching sport. As such, each venue had stalls serving beer and snacks. The CWG too has some snacks but – let’s be honest here — they leave much to be desired. It’s not that the quality of eats fluctuate from venue to venue. With a single caterer, the same banal stuff manages to pop up across the breadth of the Games.
And did someone mention beer? Bah!
The organizers are convinced that Indian spectators may be grown up enough to make families but surely they aren’t old enough to be trusted with imbibing in public. However, the most irritating aspect of watching these Games is the ban on taking drinking water into any venue.
This, of course, given the wonderfully vacillating nature of applying security protocol, keeps varying and there are stadiums where you can sneak some in. Others have eagle-eyed vigil where the diktat of the sports-illiterate babu who came up with rules for spectators in the Games, is zealously implemented.
It’s been sweaty, hungry work to cover these Games thus far. With no substance-abuse to sooth the nerves, it promises to be a long grating grind to the closing ceremony.