Dom Joly: How can I help you? 24-hour phone line rides to the rescue at Delhi's Games

Weird World of Sport: 'My main concern however is that there is a long electric wire hanging down from where the light should be'
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Things in the athletes' village in Delhi go from bad to worse. Some of the more cosseted contestants have decided not to turn up. Other, hardier souls, have made the trip to India but are seriously unhappy. They now find themselves on the equivalent of a horror package holiday in Turkey where you video every fault hoping to get some future redress on Watchdog. Sadly for the Commonwealth Games competitors, there is only the 24 hour(ish) trouble-shooting line set up as a last-minute effort by the beleaguered Indian government.

".....Sir, I am most apologetic that you have not been able to extricate yourself from the bathroom. I can only repeat that a maintenance engineer has been dispatched and that you will be released soon. May I suggest that in the meantime you attempt to get some sleep in the bathtub? And may I take this opportunity of wishing you the best of luck in your pole-vaulting tomorrow? Sir, I must hang up the receiver as there is another caller on the line... I do not appreciate that language sir, I am disconnecting you..."


"Yes, hello sir how may I help you at this time?"

"Hi... is this the people in charge of the complex?"

"Well, I'm not exactly in charge sir – I am assigned to help you in whatever manner I might be best of... what is the nature of your concern sir?"

"I don't know where to start – first here is this man screaming and banging on the walls and he has been doing it all night long."

"May I enquire as to what room you are in sir."

"Yes, I'm in 456, I think, although it could be 459 because the numbers are loose."

"456, let me have a look..... ah yes, you are next door to the gentleman with whom I was just speaking. He is experiencing some problems with his bathroom but it is being sorted out as we speak."

"His bathroom? He sounds in a terrible state."

"Please do not worry sir, assistance is on her way. How may I help you in your concern?"

"I don't really know where to start – I got here about six hours ago hours ago but someone has only just given me your number..."

"What is the exact nature of your concern?"

"Well,, the room is not quite finished. There is quite a large hole just above the bedhead and....."

"A hole sir? You are sure that this is not a window? Each room is definitely assigned a window feature as standard."

"I'm pretty sure that I know what a window looks like. This is a hole – a big hole that I could climb through and it goes straight out over this derelict area behind our building...".

"You mean the swimming pool area sir?"

"Yes, well there is a pool of sorts down there but it is empty apart from some animal that seems to be trapped in it. I can see its eyes in the dark, through the hole, it looks like quite a large animal, bigger than a dog, you might want to send someone to get it out."

"I will inform the maintenance man to get a weapon once he has assisted the gentleman in 454. Is he still screaming by the way?"


"OK, I'm sure he will stop soon."

"I hope so, my main concern however is that there is a long electric wire hanging down from where the main light should be. It is very near a pool of water coming through the wall from next door. The thing is arcing constantly and sending sparks everywhere."

"OK so you are concerned that you have no central light? I will let the maintenance..."

"No I'm concerned that I'm going to be electrocuted... the thing is arcing like an electric banshee..."

"A-r-c-i-n-g? Forgive me sir but I'm not familiar with this word."

"It means that it's short circuiting and sending sparks everywhere..."

"Ah good, so you have some light until the maintenance man comes?"

"What? This place is a death trap. I want to be moved somewhere else immediately."

"I'm afraid that this is impossible sir – we are totally full. I'm sure the engineer can sort all this out really quickly... apart from all this, may I just take this opportunity to welcome you to India, sir, it is an honour to have you here with us..."

"Look, I don't want to be rude but this just isn't good enough...."

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger sir... may I ask what is your sport of choice?"

"What? I'm... a marathon runner.

"That is excellent news sir – an endurance athlete – I'm sure you can endure this until we can sort out these tiny details – namaste..."