A Republic day with one of the public | Vidyut Kale

A Republic day with one of the public

School students wave Tricolours during   Republic day celebrations in Bengaluru on Saturday. PTI Photo

School students wave Tricolours during Republic day celebrations in Bengaluru on Saturday. PTI Photo

I took my son for a walk this morning. Kids dressed in new clothes were around. Loud patriotic music blaring from speakers. Paper flags everywhere. We got one too. Regardless of the wearying scams and women’s rights and human rights and poverty and starvation and shoddy healthcare and inflation and god only knows what else, like clockwork, everyone’s patriotism was out and polished to a shine.

I tried to get the son to be interested in the flag, but he wasn’t. So, I propped the flag on its thin stick against the wall, and did an impromptu parade stamping my feet and making silly noises. You wouldn’t recognize it as a parade. Nisarga (my son) perked up. I sang the National Anthem. I sang other patriotic songs. I saluted the flag. I saluted him. He liked that. Kept prompting me to salute him over and over. He also liked me doing that foot stamping kind of marching and a salute as I went past. I taught him how to salute. Then I left him to himself to play.

He took the flag and banged it hard, scratching his head. Was that a salute? Maybe. Or maybe it was the child of a clever blogger making a comment on the state of the country. A while later, he started babbling nonsense to it. I wanted to post pictures, but the condition of the flag would get me arrested. I hadn’t taught him that part yet. He thought the flag was his to do with as he pleased. , which inevitably meant he mangled it. Then he got bored. Moved on to something else.

I was lost in thought. I had never had a more fun republic day. And technically, there was absolutely no reason why that should be so. Both of us were in old clothes. We had not attended any public flag hoisting. We had not watched TV, even the songs were sung. No sound system perfection. The parade had to be a joke It was not a parade at all. Just me rushing at him, stamping my feet. The salute was okay by me. He scratched his head. The flag was a cheap paper flag that went through major torture and ended in several pieces. The whole “ceremony” was done within half an hour. There were no pictures. No sweets. No rose petals.

(The views expressed in this column are the writer’s own)

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