groans for having to get up early to report to school for flag hoisting, so what hopes could a rainy day independence day have?
Hmm! What does it mean to present day kids, I thought to myself as I stepped out for my walk today, the 15th of August, the 66th independence day of our country. A crisp thought to mull over, I told myself as I started my wet walk. Two small schools were on my way, decorated ceremoniously in colours of our national flag. Kids skittered around, jumping over puddles to report to school on purported time.
I smiled as I saw a kid trying to keep his pant up with one hand,
mumbling and complaining under his breath about being yanked out of bed so early on a day that was supposed to be ‘independence day’ and another rubbing his eyes, trying to snap out of grogginess!
I stopped outside the second school, to watch some teachers, all
dressed in white to mark the sobriety of the day. A chief guest for the day prattled endlessly in chaste tamil about our illustrious freedom fighters, their sacrifices and the freedom struggle. My eyes turned to the children who were
standing on the open ground, the rain notwithstanding, looking restless, some
looking at their watches and sighing, clueless about the speech being rendered
for their benefit.
Thankfully the national anthem bought the day’s festivities to an end,
where again kids stood, fidgeting about, impatient to make a dash to the front
Sure enough, the kids trooped out the moment the function came to an
end. I stopped one kid, about eight years old, with freshly fallen front tooth and asked him what it was today. ‘Its ‘Dependance day’ he whooshed through the gap between his teeth paying more attention to unwrapping a chocolate he had been given. It sure was! I laughed to myself. I caught another eight year old, bent down to his eye-level and asked, ‘What is it today?’ He looked at me incredulously and said, ‘Independence day! You don’t know?’ Aah! Atleast we have the day right, I thought. I asked, what does it mean to you? I know it’s the day India got its independence, but in what way is it special to you?’ The child thought for sometime and said, ‘It’s special because we get two chocolates and a flag pinned to our shirt!’ His eyes twinkled as he added, ‘But today we got two milk bikis and a Nehru cap extra! Yay!’
I straightened as the lad sped away, mighty thrilled with his
acquisitions for the day! I sighed and thought, this is what the sacrifices and struggles of our forefathers mean to the kids!’ Or am I being a pessimist?
God knows! In this case even Gandhi wouldn’t have known! We are yet to truly fully understand the essence of the day.
But I wonder if there is even one Indian out there who doesn’t feel the
swell of patriotic fervour as he looks up at the tricolour, fluttering with
pride for all that we stand for! With all our imperfections and all our problems as a country, we are all still out here, on an important day, to usher in the Independence day!