An Ideal I-day Celebration

Yes, it must be called I-day from now on.

Hire a caterer and a tent company, and since 7 in the morning workers start setting up the loudspeakers and microphones, raising the flagpoles, decorating the lawn with flowers. These workers are paid Rs. 200–250 a day.

At 11 AM, the residents of the apartment trickle down. Kids wear colourful clothes. Aunties dressed in white suits, and flout tri-coloured dupattas. The kids are given some made-in-China plastic toys as gifts.

The loudspeaker blurts out patriotic songs from the 70s. They start with the original soundtracks, but soon transition to DJ remixes of the oldies.

12 noon. Attention! The national anthem. The flag unfolds. 10 minutes of patriotic speeches. Followed by a few uncles, aunts, and kids sing out-of-tune patriotic songs on the loudspeaker.

This, followed by bollywood songs from the 90s and 2000s, the only criteria for song selection being the presence of the word India or Bharat.

Lunch. Few beers.

Community celebrations are over. Head back home.

By evening, the workers of the catering company have cleaned the plastic mess on the lawn, wrapped up the tents, folded the chairs and tables. They wait a few hours for the transport to arrive, which carries them back to the go-down. Once the equipment is safely stowed, they head home, spending Rs. 40 out of the 200–250 they earned on fare. On the way back, they buy a few groceries, whatever they can afford. Some of them would buy a whole lot of red-chilly powder. That’s the only thing to make the food palatable.

Spend the evening with the family. McDonalds. Taco Bells. A fine dining restaurant. A pub. Must end with a healthy serving of alcohol.

Come back home. Sleep.

Next morning, they go back to what they were doing. Setting up more tents for some. Providing financial advice on how to avoid paying tax for others.

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