We’ve tried things the hard way. And it hasn’t worked. If there was a time for India to assert its growing influence on the world stage, it is now.
When the International Olympic Committee next convenes for the arduous task of planning for the next games, the Indian representative should table a proposal, not requiring major overhauls, but only the renaming of the 100 metre dash; To “Flight XYZ now boarding”.
This seemingly innocuous change would guarantee permanent ownership of the top podium position for the next few decades. To be completely transparent, some administrative changes would need to accompany the name change, like replacing the starter shot with a disembodied announcement on the PA system, of dubious sound quality with only the words “now boarding” being clear and distinct. The Indian Olympic Federation wouldn’t even need to go through the grind of actually investing in training for a sport, thus assuring huge returns on little investment, consisting of laying down ugly carpeting around the track and maybe recording an ambient soundtrack consisting of hollering babies. These changes done, all one has to do is sit back and jeer at the supremely trained athletes from the developed world struggling to stay in the frame as they get left behind.
Of course, like any potentially great undertaking, there are risks. If the PA announcement is mis-recorded to somewhere include the words “infant” and “preboarding”, the Indian challenge might well end prematurely with disqualification from jumping the gun as families with teenage progeny hurry to the gate, the said progeny, who are supposedly the cause of their disadvantage, sauntering a good 4-5 paces behind, chewing gum.
Then there is the risk that the Indian representatives might be afflicted by that deadly and unknown disease, “requiring wheelchair assistance”. Generations of scientists will puzzle over the outlying high percentage of 50-somethings in wheelchairs on flights originating or terminating in India. And they will stay puzzled as they will not have access to footage of the 50-somethings laughing and chatting away as they are wheeled to the gate, then springing with Carl-Lewis’esque agility to clamber into their seat once on board.
Not all is doom and gloom as the change might allow for the unleashing of that WCD (weapon of cabin destruction), the wailing baby. I’d challenge any fine-tuned athlete of bristling sinew and muscle to withstand the onslaught of the bawling of a baby that will just not subside. One might raise an eyebrow with the thought, might the opposition not retaliate with their homegrown toddling terrors? I say any such attempts will be akin to pissing in the face of a gale. I doubt that any parents of foreign nationality can show the equanimity that those of our great nation show as their descendant hollers to high hell at 2 am as the other passengers risk inner ear and cerebral damage in trying to stuff the airline pillow around their head.
And why stop at the 100 metre dash, there is scope to take over all the athletic events with some careful renaming of the events to indicate departing modes of transport. I think we have a winning idea here.