Disclaimer: I love my country and am not not a patriot. I do not disrespect the freedom fighters, the nationalist spirit or the fact that we celebrate I day. This post must be treated only as a vent for my anger against the stereotypical Independence day.
The typical Independence day in India reminds me of Bill Murray’s movie Groundhog Day. A day filled with events so stereotypical that it is worth documenting and ranting about. Here is what my Independence day looks like, for now and probably forever.
- Parents get up early in the morning and switch on Doordarshan to watch the Independence Day Parade. I remember how they ( and me) would sit and watch the entire telecast. Until that fateful day Hon H D Devegowda gave the National address, my parents actually watched the Prime Ministers address. You just got to credit HDD, his speech changed the paradigm in my house.
- This is followed by Flag hoisting & Patriotic songs near an Auto stand or a circle near my house. I even happened to live next to a school where eager parents would watch their kids (who are sulking and pissed that they have to do this on a National Holiday) do the march and sing the National Anthem. A chief guest, usually ex – military, cop or a politico will harp on for about 20 minutes about the Nationalism and likes whilst the kids slowly pass out either cause of them waking up at 6AM and not eating anything or …, well you figure.
- The enthusiastic local communities are also more than eager to organize an Independence day celebration. The Flag pole which sports the Karnataka flag all through the year (not to forget the posters announcing job openings, English speaking courses and the new beauty parlor down the road) bears a festive look, decked with flowers and fruits. The community is usually a small enthusiastic bunch like the residents of a flat, the local autodriver community or the daily visitors of Sri Tirumala Bar. Loud speakers announce the neighborhood of the ceremony and proceedings. After the rendition of the whole play list of Kannada patriotic songs about India (which is about 3 and half songs ), songs about Karnataka -Kannada follow. This is right about where you get confused whether the event is to promote interests of nationalism or parochialism. Well it could be just the lack of enough songs about India in Kannada. It could also be attempt by the local (usually unemployed) youth to collect money from residents and the local politico in the name of I Day celebrations and show their loyalty to their real master, Sri Tirumala Bar.
- Some flag poles get other artifacts hoisted as well. Take this one for example.
- You will find the roads filled with hawkers trying to sell tri-colored merchandise. Yes, the very same merchandise which will grace the local bins and the gutters the next day.
- Afternoons are usually complete only after the screening of the dubbed Tamil movie Roja.
- A recent trend has been spamming people with Independence day messages. Be it facebook or twitter. If you have been online long enough, you will know how the same mails repeat themselves over and over. The very same pictures and quotes. Well, its patriotism. No matter how repetitive and beaten down it may be.
- Late afternoons, well nobody cares, because most are sleeping.
- You will usually find most channels playing movies which invoke nationalist pride. JP Dutta probably makes movies, like border, knowing it will be aired on at least two days in a year. Then there was Pukaar, Lagaan, more recently – Rang de Basanti and the newest addition being Slumdog Millionaire.
- It all ends with a showing of the Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum starrer Independence Day. Yes, its very essential to watch invading aliens and the president say those priced lines, “Today, we celebrate our Independence day” , followed by the music Dan da da .. da Daan da da da.
Yep, that about sums up Independence day for me.