On the Republic Day of India, 26th January I woke up to the patriotic songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar and “Bharat Mata ki Jay” (Long Live Mother India) slogan in front of my house.
In school days, I used to wake up exceptionally early to go to school. Every year, our teachers used to warn us, “We will take attendance” and I never realized that it was just to make us participate. I was one of those kids who never performed in any act and could only help in decoration or with the map. A huge map of India used to be drawn with flowers to match the color of our national flag. In the middle of that map, used to be the flag.
Not gonna lie, I was so proud of my skills in drawing India’s map but nobody ever let me do it for the Republic day. I was too shy to ask for it! We used to have musical performances, recitations and what not… and at last, the function used to finish with the national anthem and distributing sweets that I would have never bought home otherwise.
Even in our history and literature, our country has been addressed as a great mother and we all are her children. It’s the sense of belongingness, the identity that is integral part of our lives. Watching parades in TV later in the day and have some good foods and listening to the non-stop patriotic songs played in mic nearby- that’s how the rest of the time went by. Patriotism was probably at its peak when India was fighting against British rulers for freedom. We have so many patriotic songs in Bengali written at that time… On the other hand, being born and brought up in free India, we sort of take this as granted. I’m afraid that we do not love our country as intensely as our forefathers did, who sacrificed their very lives to make this day reality. Patriotism is very subtle now. You can’t say if a person loves his/her country or not by following his/her lifestyle.
This year, we had to go to collect our Govt. health Insurance card from a nearby school on Republic day. Every family had to show up with all of their family members and required documents to collect that.
The next part of the blog has nothing to do with Republic day in general except the fact that half of the Republic Day, we spent outside for collecting that health insurance card being distributed by govt. workers. Below are some of the observations while standing in that queue. This is why I don’t go through my phone in public- I observe!
While my family was standing in the queue I was observing other families… It’s rare to see all the three generations together for every single family. Every family has its interesting quirks.
There were 2 uncles standing in the queue right in front of us- one of them left his wife in the way, who could not walk very fast. Uncle came rushing to have place in the queue already by the time his wife made it to the location.
A father-son duo was in the queue. The mom was yet to join them. The father had the kind of anxiety I can relate to at any given day. He parked his bike in walkable distance and kept 2 helmets (his and his son’s) with it. As the queue was facing the opposite direction, he was constantly asking his son to check on the bike… When the boy stood near the bike, he was asking him come back- when he was coming back, he was asking him to go again.
“Will it disturb the traffic?”
“Shall I move here (in front the queue)?”
“Watch over the helmets son”… everything he said in barely 5 mins.
A mother-son duo was there after us… The son was 3-4 years old. He probably need to pee and this lady made him pee in front of all of us. Even though the kid is very young, I feel utterly disgusted when parents don’t teach their kids to behave. Since her child is very young, she should have made him pee right before coming here… This kid while grown up as a guy would probably never understand why its not okay to pee in public- because nobody ever told him! Why for girl child parents always know what to teach her, but in the other case both the child and parents are entitled.
There was one more family that had a couple, their daughter and son and a grandma. The husband was exceptionally late along with the son and the wife and the elder child/daughter were saving the place in the queue. The woman was scolding and taunting her daughter all the time… Then she went away for some time, the grandma stood in the line and she wasn’t in good mood as her son and grandson still didn’t show up, she too started talking harshly with the girl…
Then the girl finally spoke up, “Why are you telling me all this? What did I do here?”
The husband finally showed up along with the son. The little boy was quite chubby in comparison to the elder daughter who very skinny ever after wearing a sweater…
Finally the wife also came back exploding- “What do you have eat, relax and take your sweet time before coming to any place?!!”
My mom couldn’t stop chuckling looking at the show in front of us…
There was one more mother-son duo. The boy actually goes to that school where the cards were being distributed. Due to pandemic for past one year, he had not stepped into the school. As his mom was getting ready, the little guy thought of putting on his school uniform! After all, how could he go to school in casuals! By the way, the schools are still closed. Only the ground floor was made available to the govt. workers for the card distribution.
There were many other families where few people showed up and others were late and couldn’t join the queue in time…
Even though I deliberately wrote about my observations of these families- I do not really judge any of them for how they are (except the mom who made her son pee in public). I always feel that my family is border-line dysfunctional as we have so many intense fights, have embarrassing momemnts in public. It felt nice to see, every family has similarity with my family…
My mom too walks very slowly as her knee and back hurt when she walks. My dad can never walk next to her, he is always half a mile away… When we need to go to any place, it’s mostly my elder sister- for whom everybody has to wait after getting ready. My dad is the one who gets ready at first and make rest of us hurry- this again makes my mom very anxious as she needs to remember several things in her mind and she may forget something because of that. Last but not the least, myself! I have to use the washroom right before going out anywhere. That’s last thing I have to do before wearing my shoes… I might get ready and even relax a little bit when rest of them are still struggling – but right before starting, I would run towards to the washroom…!
We came back home after collecting the cards and had lunch together.
Photo by pavan gupta on Unsplash
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