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Monday, January 25, 2010

Reliving छब्बीस जनवरी

Happy Republic Day. Enjoyed a wonderful morning today at college, all the National Events tend to be extremely pleasing events, and as I felt today if it was not for them, we would completely disconnect from our cultural heritage.

As a kid Republic Day (and even 15th August) used to be super fun. It started a week or 10 days before the D-Day. As a kid and even now I wasn't that performance inclined. So as always I formed the chunk of the neglected extras on the day forming the part of MARCH PAST :). The superstars always were part of some dance, or group song. ( I was part of group song once, last row, because they wanted few guys who were tall in the last row, so far from mic, that no one can hear us. As a chotu child Group songs were occasions when our faced were smashed with Red Colored Circles, and thumb sucking kids we were used to running around on stage with nursery teachers chasing us :)).

March Past practice was fun too, forming queues, using cliched phrases like arre one-arm distance lo na, Physical Education Teacher finding center stage apart from his usual student-thrashing activities etc. etc. Girls who were part of the March Past were a depressed lot too, because most of them anyways were part of dance, the girls who were not, were thoda sort of Tom-Boyish types as people said that time. Then there was the yatra-tatra-sarvatra drummer who was omnipresent during all practices of all kinds. Be it the regular march past routine, morning assemblies, tabla in annual function, any other instrument for annual function. He was the Music Teacher's favorite and was groomed to be a Music Teacher in future, sadly ending as another engineer among us millions :). BTW this March Past was for commoners, the Scouts and Guides were the Elite class, we were just filler items.

The D-Day used to start with Flag hoisting in school with Vande Mataram and ending with Jan Gana Man. Mostly students associated with the main event came to school (yes there was a lot beyond that, not even a part of the march past :)). We got an extra packet of the same goodie kit which we received a day prior to 26th Jan too (distributed among all township schools). Kit consisted of 1 Classic Parle -G (the then 100gm 4rs. to the now 82gm 4Rs.), Poppins (the then Rs.125, not to be found much nowdays, there is another interesting story about Poppins, but sometime later for that), couple of candies/lollipops and even dairy milk at times (used to change every year). Then we sat in a bus and moved to the main ground.

All the township gathered on the Man Sarovar ground, the battleground of our numerous Cricket battles, fistfights, once visited by the great Narendra Hirwani and Sandeep Patil :). The ground was always full on these 2 national holidays and it was great fun to be part of the festive atmosphere.

Most of the attention was always grabbed by Dance performances from across schools, award winners etc etc. The most depressing lot was always that of the March Past gang, who started the proceedings and then stood there for an hour till everyone danced, sang and received prizes. Whatever we did, we stood, got tired etc etc., but we never broke the one arm distance :).

After so many years छब्बीस जनवरी still evokes emotions, but not of that strength. But I am happy these things keep country's culture running for a few more days before the roadie kind of people swallow it up completely.

Also would like to remember the ones who lost their lives on 26th Jan'01 in the Gujarat quake, may their souls rest peacefully in heaven.


thequark said...

26 January ko subah uthh ke armed forces ki parade aur jhanki dekhna to major event hota tha. Haan school mein bhi bahut events hote the jo ki mujhe zyadatar bore lagte the. Ek baar human pyramid bhi banaya tha, to guest of honor hi late aa gaye, poore time thand mein patle se wo P.T. wale shoes mein ghoomna pada tha.

Me said...

desi boy... even i would be a part of the marchpast parade and not the dance troupe... was too shy to tell them that i could dance.. but it used to be so much more fun.. the sparkling white skirts and socks, shining black shoes, tied up braids... total fun..