So its independence day. Again. At the apartment complex.
The security guards create the background synchronised movement. With some loud banging of their boots and arching their vocal chords! Children play in gay abandon. And some stare with surprise at the normally ‘normal’ security guards playing ‘statue’ !
Kurtas rub shoulders with Hawaii shirts. And a ‘i love New York’ t-shirt, has the Tricolour pinned on it. Like the one pinned on every other shirt and saree. There is discussion about the water problem and swine flu. But all of that dies down soon.
The chief guest arrives. The tricolour hoisted and the rose petals fall. And the National anthem is sung. The tricolour continues to struggle to disentangle and catch the breeze !
And of course, a speech. By the immaculately clad chief guest. A speech that broadly rests on Kargil. On India becoming a superpower. Our pride. The army’s brilliance, the economy’s resilience.
There is mention of hunger. Poverty. And such else. A gentle nudge that we all should work towards a greater India. Of course, the sacrifices of ‘our forefathers’ are mentioned.
I sigh, as the speech ends. People shout out ‘Jai Hind’. A kid standing close to me, asks her mother, “Mamma is it ‘Jai Hind‘ or is it ‘Jai Ho‘ ” ! I struggle not to erupt in laughter.
And then, children sing ‘Patriotic songs’ as the lovely lady compering the event says. ‘Patriotic Songs’ gets the emphasis. Many times. Sure thing, that must be specified.
In sometime, i get home. Generally rant, about independence day speeches. About ‘all that empty flowery language and a lack of purpose’ !
And the missus, clearly annoyed, jumps in. ‘So, what would you have talked about if you were giving the speech?”
That catches me by surprise. But i still bravely list out.
Perhaps some stories from everyday lives…. Of teaching children basic manners. The value of money. Water conservation. Closing taps. Treating household help with dignity. Respecting other countries. Other religions. People that are different from us.
Perhaps some stories…. of tolerance and respect for each other. And that means parking cars properly, sorting out garbage, not playing loud music, loudly. Respecting mother Earth…
Independence day is not about a strange alien man or woman who lives somewhere, who will take India and the world to great heights. Its about each one of us. And all of us are dependent on each other…….”
And i notice, she is already walking away. She turns around. And says, ‘Thank God, you didn’t make that speech. People would have moved on before it ended’.
From the other room, she shouts, ‘Now, don’t go put that on your blog’. I think about it. And head here, to post. Heck. Today is independence day !
Happy Independence day people !