|The Tricolour at its best...|
During my school days I used to look forward to the Republic Day as it was a school holiday and a welcome break from the routine of waking at 6 in the morning. But my mother had other plans. She would wake me up at 8am to get ready and go down to the "Flag-Hoisting" ceremony in our complex. We used to assemble at the one garden our complex had with children lined up in front, uncles behind and the aunties bringing up the rear. One of the uncles would proudly unfurl the flag and salute it with so much pride, as if he were unfurling it at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. After the national anthem, the uncles would line the children up and take us on a rally where we used to wave the flags at every random man on the street.
After lunch in the early evenings, the complex used to organise a series of sports events, where invariably I used to win or come runners-up in all the events. Later just before dinner I would feel really proud to get my cups and shields in a casual award ceremony.
By the end of my school days Republic Day for us had changed from singing national anthems at assemblies to watching the endless reruns of the classic patriotic movies like Krantiveer, Tiranga, Border, 1942 A love story, LOC, Pukar, Lagaan, Bhagat Singh (all 5), Rang De Basanti, Chak de and Nayak on the local TV channel. As my dear friend rightly said, the 26th Jans and the 15th Augusts should be more appropriately known as the J. P. Dutta day.
In college the way we looked at Republic Day changed again. For us Republic Day was not only a holiday but also a "Dry Day". More important than our dear country proudly becoming a Republic, it became a day when all the Bars and Alcohol shops were closed. The topic of discussions ranged from how much the Bars and shops loose money to how it is a sad day for all the alcoholics, instead of how well the country was doing now and how much it has improved over the years.
It has taken a long trip away from my country and home to realise how many memories are linked to this day. None of them patriotic in any sense, but memories nonetheless.
God Bless India!!
Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra, Jai Punjab, Jai Haryana......