August 16, 2012 by Preeks
That was one of the oldest memories of Independence Day. Homework on 14th August always included either an essay on Independence Day or “Nibandh Lekhan: Gantantra Diwas”. Needless to say, it was still a special day.
Living in Delhi, being a Government Officers daughter, studying in a school run on the principles of the man who proudly translated the National Song into “Mother I bow to thee” – how could we not love this day? I don’t remember a single year in the past 20 years (counting since I remember), when I did not wake up at 6 in the morning to watch the Prime Minister’s speech, scan the audience to locate my Dad, scribble words from the chaste Hindi commentary to use them in my essay later and stand up in respect of the flag and the anthem.
I have vivid memories of the Independence Day of 1997 – the 50th year of celebration. I trudged along with my father to the Red Fort, with dreams of this day being very different from the ones I had witnessed so far – something more dramatic than just a Jai Hind. Sleepy eyed, I sat in the audience looking all sides to see if there was anything different this year. And sure there was. A huge balloon in the shape of India’s national symbol had been erected. The three lions swayed dangerously throughout the speech and made the speech way more dramatic, if you tried imagining the lions swaying to the emotions of the words in the speech. But that wasn’t all. The real drama came when a helicopter on security duty ran into a corner of the balloon by mistake and tore it apart. All the children watched amused, as the air from the balloon escaped, reducing the size of the massive balloon. Exciting stuff for a 9 year old!
For most people, its another holiday. Even better if its on a weekday. I am no different, except that I am different. This is the only holiday when waking up early does not pinch. I wait for the 21 gun salute to ring there at the Red Fort and crave my ears to hear the echo on our glass windows. It feels special to be close to something so historic, so significant.
Why am I writing this today? Because I don’t know where I will be next year. I may or may not be in Delhi and that just makes me feel insanely nostalgic. Or maybe, this will become one of those little traditions for me. Make it to Delhi, somehow on Independence Day every single year till I am alive. Who knows?!
This year was extra-special, also because for the first time ever, I got a chance to represent India somewhere and no words can describe the feeling that oozes through your body when you walk down a stage with your flag fluttering on a big screen.
Its just another holiday. I know. But lets try not making it just another holiday? Its a significant day and in some way, we are all connected to it. On that note, Happy Independence to all of you!
PS: I can’t believe I managed to write a serious blog post! 😀 Calls for immediate celebration! 😀