Every Republic Day used to be special. I used to wear Khadhi and see contingents of the Police and the NCC walk past the collector at Madurai. Some years before that, I used to be walk by in the NCC ( National Cadet Corps) Navy contingent. Polished shoes, sparkling white uniform, and the marching drum used to be worth all the kilometers of marching in the name of rehearsals. ( Distance terms, I think we would have gone around the globe. Twice !).
I age. The nation ages. The republic day tone gets a new flavour. In the apartment complex where we stay, the motely crew of security gaurds ( & a loud ‘command giver’ ) became the mainstay of the Republic Day function.
When the loud ‘commander’ gave his orders “ Teen o teen dhaine chalega, Dhaine mode” ( ‘Right Turn’ to the uninitiated), some turned left. Others turned right. Some others turned halfway and turned halfway back again. Smiling sheepishly at each other, they were turning on all sides! I restrained my laughter! Come on, these were security gaurds & not remotely close to the marchers !!!
We waited patiently for 20 minutes for the music system to get some electricity. The flag remained all tied up.. It reminded me of the India that was till sometime back : All tied in, while the world turned around in all directions !!
Just as I was thinking electricity or rather the lack of it, was going to suck the electricity of the day, somebody decided to get on with it. The function got underway, and an elderly gent unfurled the flag and spoke about a whole lot of things. From upliftment of the apartment complex to rooting out corruption.
The tricolour didn’t seem to care. It waited for the first gust of wind to start fluttering. It did. In all its glory. First tentatively. Then a little confidently. Seemed to me, that the fluttering was an attempt to make up for all the delay in keeping it wrapped up and tied down.
As a nation we seem to have come a long way. From being tied to the mast for a long time, to where we are now. The wind has caught us & we seem to be fluttering away!! The times they have changed. My attitude has changed. I didn’t wear khadhi this time. Not consciously. But somehow I think I have moved on beyond symbolism.
And when the national anthem played, the chest swelled in as much pride as before. Perhaps a little more. To watch the tricolour flutter in all its glory. This ad has been a personal favourite for a long while. I think it is topical !