Saturday, August 20, 2011

How august is the15th of August?

what significance does the 15th of August hold for me?

15 years ago...It was a day to look up to. It was a day we spent days waiting for. The repeat march pasts, the repeat salutes - everything for the sake of that one moment when the Principal would hoist our National Flag in the center of my School's green lawn.

14 years ago - It was a day made extra special by the great AR Rahman releasing his 'Vande Mataram'. 50 years of Independence then.

13 years ago - It was still a day to look up to. A day when I would sing the national anthem in front of a few thousand people and know how it felt when it is sung with the parade band. The kick I got out of it, the goosebumps it gave, the adrenaline it fuelled.

10 years ago - Still a day to look up to. A different place, a different gathering and a different movie. The day I saw Lagaan for the first time. Undoubtedly the cricket match that I watched the most number of times.

And now. The country has grown (population and GDP). But what is it that I look up to, when someone talks about15th August? This - "Is it on a weekend? Is it going to be a part of a longer weekend? "  Why is this intensity towards 15th August weakened? - Why should I feel like celebrating when I see a shanty settlement right next to my 2 bed room apartment? Why should I feel like celebrating when someone begs at the place where I eat? Why should I feel like celebrating when someone is ready to go on a hunger strike to protest against a weak lokpal bill? Why should I feel like celebrating when someone thinks freedom is to jump a traffic signal? Why should I feel like celebrating when there are daily soaps running on most of the channels inspite of this being a day to celebrate freedom? Why should I celebrate when the government is the one elected by a minority of the population?

Do I look at the negatives more than the positives? Who gets lucky when prosperity marries poverty? who gets lucky when diversity marries violence? who gets lucky when progress marries fundamentalism? The product is today's India. I am lucky to be alive, lucky to be writing this.  I would consider myself unlucky for writing this too, for it would have been so sweet to talk a lot about rosy things. Independence days during school were nothing but that, rosy!!!

PS : Why do we need to celebrate an Independence day as well as a Republic day. Better save those expenses. Cut the crap.