Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jan 26

Republic days were fun when I was a kid. The school used to have flag hoisting and back at home, we used to religiously clamor around our portable black and white television with present always static to watch the parade near India Gate, Delhi. The capital city used to unfold it's idyllic charm on me with fog filled skies and everything around it seemed to be in great harmony, just like the parade itself. It was fun to be patriotic and serious business. There were a few songs I learned during that period of time that sung about the glory of Mother India - and even at an age under ten, it used to give me goose bumps and an adrenaline rush to my brain with the unmistakable sensation of patriotism. The week's Chitrahaar used to air all such songs and me with my limited knowledge in Hindi used to grapple hard to remember the lyrics for my bathroom singing - with the same set of reactions from my body - the goose bumps et al. 

I look back and see that I don't seem to love my country as much as I did as a child. I mean, I am proud to be Indian, proud of it's rich culture but the innocent and sincere pride that housed in my heart every time I read about a freedom fighter or heard patriotic music is no where to be seen in my adulthood. I sit and ponder as to why! Is it because we get to take things for granted as we grow up or does the exposure to the world make us more out of tune with the things around us? I don't know if it is making sense - my pointless ponder and questions there of, but do we really take things for granted as we grow old? - do things change or do we change? 

I am out of touch with the kind of hoopla they have in the current day to celebrate National holidays so I wishfully think that there is still the same kind of patriotism that the current generation experiences watching the parade and hoisting the flag in educational institutions. Are Gandhi, Patel and Bhagat Singh still the glorious heroes of our past or did we substitute them? Does the telly still play retro reels of a black and white era hero singing the praise of "mere desh ki dharti sona ugle, ugle heere moti" and does such kind of music still give goose bumps to kids in the maiden decade of their lives? I can only wonder on the other side of the hemisphere. 

Love for country apart - The republic day of my 20th year got me a surprise that I can never ever forget. Towards the end of noon on Jan 26th, the post man came and knocked on our door with a telegram addressed to me. I got the door, signed for it and tore it with trembling hands as to why and who had the urgency to send me a telegram out of the blue. To my relief I discovered it was a greeting telegram and wondered who was sending me birthday wishes in January. The telegram read 

Sincere greetings for the republic day. Long live the  Republic.

And under it was a name that rang a bell...not a name that jumped at me and said - "okay, it is such and such person". It took me a couple of seconds to recognize the not so familiar name to surface to my active memory. It was from a high school class mate. Needless to say, me and my whole gang of friends (come to think of it, I always had very few friends in life - I had a lot of acquaintances but only a very few friends) had a hearty laugh. The same republic day that brought lofty thoughts and raised heart beats became a mere "National holiday" in the matter of a decade! And, in my defense, I can just say that the friend in question is not a die hard "Desh Bhakt" himself - he just took the advice of a mischief maker to keep sending greetings to the one you love just so she doesn't forget you while she is back at her home town. Sometimes it is a wonder how people look at us - we don't even know they are looking at us in a certain way be it with love or with loathe - but we do leave imprints - perhaps surface scratches or even deeper wounds on the hearts who take us to heart with varied emotions. We can only wonder why! 

And sometimes I wonder, if we just take all kinds of things for granted as we age. At that point in time, I'd just laughed the telegram off - but I look back and think if it made sense just to reciprocate the greeting and the thought behind it without ridiculing it. 

May be, We seem to change. The things around us remain the same! :-)