Till high school, Independence Day meant more to me than just a holiday. It was more than playing 2-3 patriotic songs on repeat all day.
“Don’t even think about staying home tomorrow. I’ll take attendance for sure,” my class teacher said every year on the day before Independence Day. Despite how much I believed it to be true, I wasn’t smart enough to notice that all the teachers would be too busy to care about who didn’t turn up. Normally, school started at 10 am but on August 15th, the function began three hours earlier than usual. Since 5th standard, I gave up being a morning person but for such an auspicious occasion, I had to become one again. Although I wasn’t part of the organizing committee or involved in any performances like singing, dancing or reciting poetry and decorating anything.
But I was confident in my ability to draw our country’s map well. I had drawn it a few times on the blackboard. On our playground, they used to decorate with a map of India made out of flowers in the three colors of our national flag. Although I would have loved to join in, nobody ever let me participate.
We used to have flag hosting, followed by a series of patriotic songs, dance-drama, and recitations. We had to stand there for the entire time. The classrooms were locked, so we had to stand on the balcony for the best view. I could see the map and wonder how magnificent it was. Marigolds, sweet-smelling white flowers, and green leaves surrounded us – in the center they made Asoka Chakra with small blue flowers. It was almost like puja but our gods were freedom fighters; religion only meant one thing – Indian. Some performances always got me; those heart-wrenching stories made me thankful for my life. And during the national anthem, I still get goosebumps every time I hear it. I don’t understand what magic it holds but it works every time.
After the function, they used to distribute a box of snacks. I could never have breakfast at home because by that time my enzymes would have digested half of my entrails with no food. The box contained the cheapest sweets and snacks they could find, but it never tasted bad. My childhood memories are mediocre, but precious and close to my heart.
That’s all for today. Stay well guys. Much love xo
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