Which water please? Still or sparkling? Or better still, a sugar free coke? Asks a helpful volunteer trying to help a befuddled journalist on his choice of drinking water. The journalist is clearly lost for choice and everything’s for free! He just wanted to quench his thirst after encountering Delhi’s hot sun outside.
There are also scores of counters loaded with snacks from ‘idli’, corn cutlets, ‘stir and make it yourself’ cups of ‘upma’ and ‘idli sambar’ and to sandwiches and cookies galore.
And then tea and coffee just for the asking complete with a machine to crush your own coffee beans. There is even a choice where to drink it from—a thermocol cup, a ceramic one with plates or even a ‘kullar’ for the ones for the ‘desi’ sip.
Just outside the smoking room lies a rectangular stand with a few dangling nodes. “That is for smokers to light a cigarette,” points out another volunteer. Many journalists from the developed nations were looking at the lighting device in curiosity. Clearly they had not seen such a contraption before.
Among the many mediapersons—all confined to the plush International Media Center—a small distance away from the barricaded Bharat Mandapam where the leaders are meeting—the important question seemingly was whether non-vegetarian food would be served for lunch and dinner… The answer seemed obvious—vegetarian.
About 3,000 journalists—including 2,000 foreign ones—are reported to have registered to cover the G20 meet. The cited numbers may be much on the higher side but on the face of it, it seems as if the world media has come to Delhi.
Yet the facilities provided have much to talk to home about and could have catered to many more people. Nor is there any shortage of working stations with superfast internet connections.
The air-conditioned bus ferrying the media persons from the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium to the Bharat Mandapam complex sees a gaggle of dialects from Spanish to Tamil to what have you. And like always, when languages don’t match, sign language holds the key.
And inside the futuristic interiors plush with swanky escalators and see-through lifts, it is another world. In one of the halls, one can experience a unique range of digital experience.
An upbeat India, in its oft-repeated ‘Amrit Kaal’, is playing up its ‘technology-driven and knowledge based economy’ status to the hilt.
If this is the global south, who needs the north?