If the aerostat was the star of the show at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, the honour belonged to the dancing laser lights at the grand finale on Thursday. The lasers had the arena to themselves for a mere seven minutes but played a significant role in creation of the magical ambience that was the signature of the ceremony which was more relaxed and in many ways more fun than the opening ceremony 10 days ago. Through the Agni-glory of sports (martial arts show), Vande Mataram and Glasgow segments, the lights gently played around the field. The eeriness associated with the Loch Ness Monster or the spectacular sight of schoolchildren paying a tribute to their motherland in the colours of the national flag was created by these lights. These reached a feverish pitch immediately after the screen had flashed the ‘See you in Glasgow’ sign. They twisted, turned, created waves in hues of violet, blue, green and every colour of the rainbow and suffused Jawaharlal Nehru Stadim in a supernatural glow. They created illusions of spiralling tunnels at one moment and sheathed the 60,000-odd spectators in a blanket of light at another. It was almost like light had become a three-dimensional object. ‘‘It almost felt that one had entered a zone where nothing but lights were allowed, like in a dream,’’ said 15-year old Vasuki Aiyer, struggling for words to describe the spectacle.
The music was appropriate to the occasion. There were vocals by Shankar Mahadevan and drums, to whose tunes the lights — which seemed to have become animate objects — gyrated. It was something that Delhi had never seen before. The aerostat featured lights in geometric patterns but there was hardly anybody who could take eyes off the antics of the lights themselves to look at the projection of the helium balloon. There has been much more song and dance about the aerostat but today it was little more than a prop. On the other hand, the lights created such an atmosphere of supernatural beauty that it was unbelievable. ‘‘It was like I was in the kingdom of lights where every resident was doing its best to entertain me,’’ said Supriya Sinha, a resident of R K Puram. The show, which cost the Organising Committee Rs 1.5 crore, a fraction of the Rs 40-crore bill that the aerostat notched up, was staged by the German firm, Tarm Showlaser, that had enthralled audiences at the closing ceremony of the recently held FIFA World Cup in South Africa among other international events. They had also performed at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the Athens Olympics in 2004.