. Independence day

‘Independence day’ is one of the three national holidays of India(other two being, the Republic day on 26th January and birthday of Mahatma Gandhi on 2nd October).I start this way because as a child, I knew this day only as a day of ‘holiday’…Gradually, while growing, I realised the importance of this day.

Writing about the story behind this day, this day of 15th August every year since 1947 is celebrated as independence day in India, signifying the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom.It was on this day that the UK Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act,1947 transferring the legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly.This piece of information used to be more than enough for us as a child to celebrate this day..Studying the history of the country used to be really boring but celebrating the national days was truly a different feeling.

I can still remember the excitement and enthusiasm we experienced in school almost a month before the Independence day.I am sure everyone would have experienced this fun and felt this beautiful emotion of love for the country on this day…

As a kid,I loved this day only because of the holiday..I used to love this period before 15th August as going to school meant only for activities and not for studying.The whole day in the school passed doing practices for the 15th August that included parades by different groups, practising the salute, different dance performances, speeches in different languages of the country, sports activities, pyramid formations and what not!!!On other routine days, waking up early and reaching school before 8am used to be such a difficult task but on 15th August, reaching school before 7am also did not seem tough…That’s the beauty of this day.

Waking up early morning, dressing up perfectly with clean ironed clothes, perfect knotted tie, tidy two ponytails, tight socks, polished shoes and carrying a ‘disciplined you’,used to be a goal of everyone for this day.On the way to school, you find the tricolour wrapped high on the pole waiting to be hoisted in different buildings, the ‘tricolour’ and the ‘ashok chakra’ badges being sold, your parent buying few of them and putting one of them on the left top corner of your shirt..Wow, that feeling!!

Reaching the school, how patiently we used to stand on the ground, sometimes in sun waiting for the chief guests for the day(who mostly used to be the soldiers of the country or some politicians or some other respectable personalities)..Standing in ‘attention’ position, as the ‘future of the country’,watching the flag being hoisted, immediately followed by the singing of national anthem used to be such a proud feeling..

After the national anthem, how systematically we used to get arranged on the count of whistles, being all set for parade!!!This always made me realise the discipline with which a soldier lives all his life…After the parade, there used to be different sports activities lined up which included different competitions on field. For me and students like me who did not take much part in outdoor games, this was the time to get dressed for the program that would follow…

Everyone ,not taking part in outdoor activities would go inside the school building and start getting themselves dressed for their performances in their respective costumes(which would include different state traditional wears, other dresses which would have at least one colour from the tricolour) and the rest in white kurta and pajama with a dupatta, coloured orange, white, green or blue.The clothing used to give a major patriotic touch to this patriotic day.

The program would start with prayers to god, seeking blessings for our country and the people, followed by felicitation and speeches welcoming the guests.There used to be so many performances and watching them used to be so much fun.My favourite used to be the ‘singing competitions’ because it were these patriotic songs sung that gave us a chance to recall the rich heritage of our country and also made us remember that India was once known as ‘the golden bird’. One other thing, I used to love very much about this day was the snacks and the sweets that were distributed at the end of the program…

Today, when I have grown up and when I am in a different country, all I can do is badly miss ‘This’ day and write something like this remembering the celebration that I enjoyed back in my country every year. In a foreign land also I get a holiday on occasion of Independence day of my country ‘India’ but here I cannot see the children of my country waking up early, getting all dressed in a way once I used to and excited about the celebration going to happen in the school. I, now do not have to get bored listening to the long speeches by the guests and the same speech on importance of the tricolour.But does this fact make me happy??? I am NOT SURE.

I am thankful that at least I can see my country’s flag being hoisted on this day in this foreign land. The rest I convince myself by listening to the patriotic songs of my country and by watching some movies on freedom fighters and country, and yes now i have to enjoy the foreign chocolates in place of the Indian desi sweets.. I am lucky that I could build memories in childhood that I can recall today..

To take birth on a land that has such a rich history and a land on which so many great personalities were born is such a proud feeling that can never be described. I was,I am and will always be proud of my country. Wishing everyone a very HAPPY 71st INDEPENDENCE DAY.

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