This week the Commonwealth Games emergency call centre has been flooded with even more desperate calls for assistance from competitors. Since they arrived in the Indian capital they have been faced with problems that are not normally to be found in sporting events such as these around the world.
"Hello, Commonwealth Games Assistance Line, how may I help you today?"
"Hi... I need help in my room right now..."
"OK, sir, I'm sure we can be of assistance to you – what is the nature of your concern?"
"The nature of my concern is that THERE IS A BLOODY HUGE SNAKE IN MY BEDROOM..."
"OK, sir, firstly may I apologise for any inconvenience caused by this incident. Before I dispatch someone to deal with this problem, may I ask you a couple of questions to help me ascertain the threat level from said snake?"
"What? Yes... hurry please..."
"OK, sir – what is the colour of the snake?"
"Uuummm, it's a sort of browny black..."
"Brown or black, sir?"
"A mixture... I don't know..."
"Are there any markings on the snake?"
"WHAT? It's raising its head up in the air and it's fixing me with green eyes... I'm trapped here, please send someone as soon as possible..."
"I will soon be in a position to do so, sir... how long is the snake approximately?"
"About two metres... it's bloody huge... it's swaying from side to side now and the tongue is flickering..."
"OK, sir, I think you have an Indian cobra in your room – I shall be sending someone out as soon as possible."
"Is it... poisonous?"
"Oh yes, sir... it's in the big four... one bite and you're on your way to reincarnation..."
"Well... what should I do in the meantime?"
"Do not maintain eye contact – actually, my mother always used to say that if you sang to a snake then it would be soothed, you could try that."
"Sing? OK, but please hurry..."
"Thank you for calling, sir. Hello, line two, can I help you?"
"Yes, hi... I've just arrived and checked into my room..."
"Excellent, sir, welcome to India, did you have a nice flight?"
"Yes... fine thank you. It's just that when I got into my room, there appears to be a family living in my bathroom."
"Sir, you have only reserved this room for one person – if you have extra people staying there then there will be an additional charge to your organisation..."
"It's not my family – I don't know them at all, they have put a makeshift tent over the bathroom and are very polite – however, the situation is not ideal. They are saying that they had to move so that somebody called Karl Pilkington could move into their room as he was unhappy with where he was originally staying because it was smelly. Does any of this make any sense to you?"
"Sir... I am very busy here – does your family need another room?"
"They're not my family – I have never met them before..."
"Sir, I have another call, I must go. I apologise sir... Hello, line three, how can I help you?"
"Hello, there's a guy in the next room to me who has started singing really loudly and he's driving me insane..."
"OK... that gentleman is just trying to calm down a cobra – please be patient sir and he will soon stop one way or another... line four..."
"Hello... I'm on the fourth floor of Block B and there is what I think is a large tiger walking up and down the balcony outside our rooms – there are five of us here and we need to get to training, but obviously we have a problem doing that."
"OK, sir, I apologise for this inconvenience – our animal man is handling a snake problem right now so you can either wait for him or deal with the matter on your own."
"How on earth can we deal with a tiger?"
"My father believed in distraction. If you can go into your minibar, you should find some nuts – throw the nuts out and the tiger will eat them – while he is doing so you can slip out..."
"My friend has just opened the minibar and it just has two empty cans of paint in there... the tiger is now scratching on the door – we would really appreciate some help here..."
"Sir... I can only apologise for the emptiness of your minibar – I once saw a movie in which a gentleman managed to keep a lion away from himself with the use of a chair. If there is a chair in the room and the matter is urgent, I suggest you use this method to get to training and we should have it sorted out by the time you return to your room. I realise that this is not ideal and can only apologise, namaste..."