Republic Day dawned, cold and foggy.
I got ready for this annual event – the 65th to be precise.
“What time is the Parade?” I queried.
“9.30” said Pa-in-law.
“Oh its 26th January today na? I am so excited.” That surprising announcement was from my daughter.
“Great! Now let’s finish up breakfast in a jiffy so we can watch in peace!” that was my better half.
“But the telecast is at night, 8 o’clock I presume.” She replied.
“Night? Eight o’clock? Are you daft? The Parade is always in the morning.” I replied indignantly.
My daughter pulled a long face. “What that boring old stuff? They show the same things every year. I was talking about the Filmfare awards which I will watch later. I have to study now anyway.”
Boring old stuff? What is she talking about? The republic day parade on Raj path every year was a must watch. There is something eminently exiting about the display of firearms, the floats and the marching. With full patriotic fervour I watch all that is watchable about my country and my heart swells with pride. One year I even braved the crowd and cold and watched the abridged version of the parade from Chand Chowk. It is my desire to witness the real thing, preferably from the VIP enclosure. The ring side view!! Brings stars to my eyes! It is still a distant dream. First it was the bomb threats. Every year some or the other terrorist outfit swore to blow up the Republic Day Parade. Then it is getting unimaginably colder each year and of course I am not getting any younger. To top it all, a message from my sister in Mumbai, “Going for our first Republic day Parade!!” Groan. There was a picture too, of her waving a Tiranga, that too in sleeveless tee. Double Groan.
Anyway excuses!!! I must get around to doing that one of these years.
I broke out of my reverie to see our Prime Minister paying tribute at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.
Someone was speaking on the TV and saying that after so many years of independence we are unable to erect an indigenous memorial to our fallen heroes. According to him, this one was built by the British.
Was it now? Out came Google to my rescue.
Wikipedia very sagely informs me the following:
It commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919.