Sunday, January 26, 2014

Republic Day

During his mad school days, Republic Day was one of the rare festivals that he celebrated at his hometown; as during rest of the festivals he was in his boarding school. To describe that day of 26th January as a festival or even as a celebration might be an exaggeration, but yes it was definitely an event of a certain sort for him.

To give you all a background, our protagonist's hometown is a small town in Bihar with a bare minimum literacy rate, sex ratio, human development index and basic issues of good roads, fresh water and electricity supply. Whenever there was an extra hour of electricity provided in the houses, one could easily infer that either there was some minister visiting the town or that the poor Govt. electricity official found in his office would have been beaten by the unemployed town mob.

Anyways, Republic Day celebration in his hometown was limited to a school playground (which was also used as a grazing ground for buffaloes) with a full volume microphone playing bollywood desh-bhakti songs amidst some speeches by the principal and a chief guest (spreading the town with jingoism). He had done his nursery education from the same school which played the host to all this nationalistic pandemonium. He was like their favourite alumnus. An alumnus who now owns a DSLR, a blackberry phone, had traveled abroad (even be it only Bhutan) and wore a sweatshirt with IIM inscribed in it.

So every republic day, they used to ask him or politely and emotionally persuade him to deliver a speech on that same loud microphone. A speech nicely placed between all those Bollywood deshbhakti songs. The mandate given to him was that the speech should necessarily be in English language. Every year he tried to make the same futile argument that he should speak in Hindi as hardly people in the audience knew English and also Hindi made much more sense of patriotism.

But he had to budge and instead go on the dais and throw all English words. The loudspeaker was so loud that the whole town would listen and even his parents sitting on the terrace basking the winter sun were further warmed by the pride of their son giving speech in the English language.

In the midst of his speech, he would look at the blank faces of the students, their parents and the smiling teachers listening to him while he threw at them: words like humanity, democracy, secularism and fraternity. And then to response to such a cold response, he would close his eyes and assume his mother sitting on the terrace, hearing but not listening to her son with that joyous smile of pride and gratification of an English educated upbringing of her son on that very Republic Day of India...

Jai Hind!
I felt


Zlaek said...

Haha. I love this!

GKK said...

Really liked this !!

Khushboo Solanki Sharma said...

That is us :) P for Pretense not Patriotism !