The Commonwealth Games over, we can now return to those of everyday Indian life. For all the protests, though, there was nothing in the corruption that marked the Games that does not permeate every town and city, all the time. Just that, in these Games, it got concentrated in one very high-profile event, under constant public and media gaze. Much of the agonising - over what was routine corruption - was occasioned by "what the world will think of us." For 'world' read Western world. We care little about what Tuvalu or Tonga or Papua New Guinea think of us.

The corruption - or its public manifestation - hurt us because it messed with our self-image and our need to be accepted as special by the Western elite, in every way, even at sports. After all, we are knocking at the door of the G-8. Else, there were no surprises in the corruption. Shocking, yes. Surprising, no. Dirty contracts handed out to sleazy builders? That's business as usual in Mumbai, any day in the past three decades. Most of the city's 36 MLAs are builders or contractors, which is its own comment.

Shoddy construction? Footbridges that collapse? We figured out how flimsy were the buildings in Gujarat's cities after the 2000 quake. Yet we continue to build huge high-rises in high seismic zones - because there's money in that. It was logical for the authorities to say of the collapsed footbridge in Delhi that - it was meant for ordinary citizens, not athletes. (Read: It's okay if ordinary citizens fall off it.)

Kickbacks for the boys? Conflict of interest? You're more likely to win the lottery than find the citizen surprised by these. Appropriation of the resources of the public, particularly of poor people? Well, Maharashtra shows you how. You can grab adivasi land - inalienable in law - for your private city and hill station. The Revenue Minister will "regularise" these violations for you. Contrast this with the daily struggle of people in Mumbai's slums for 'regularisation.' Their massive contribution to the city's economy counts for nothing.

Ostensibly promoting the events, many of the signs were actually meant to hide the real Delhi from tourists' eyes.

 •  Wounded pride, or vanity?