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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Things I miss in the Republic Day Parade!

Edit: This post has been picked up by Blogadda for their Spicy Saturday Picks! Read away!

Every 26th January of my life begins with a warm breakfast at the dining table and the television voluntarily switched on. Everyone's in their pyjamas. We search for DD National or DD India (which get viewer-ship from us once a year) and watch the prelims for the annual Republic Day Parade. It's been a tradition in our household for as long as I remember, especially promoted by dad when we were kids and now promoted by me (or both of us) because I'm so used to it that not doing it seems like an anomaly. 

Over the years, I've observed some changes in the Parade that has nearly the same format and sequence. Some changes are good, while some are those I wish had not disappeared, because I have fond memories of having experienced the joy of those elements. Watching the Parade today, I realized that if I do not record them somewhere, perhaps I'll forget them forever. By writing them down, even if I have trouble recalling, they won't entirely be forgotten, and I can revisit this and relive them once again. 

A glimpse of the Parade from some past year

The stuff I miss includes:

1. Watching the air show on TV, then immediately running outside to the park right in front of our old home because the helicopters and aircraft were sure to pass by, very much visible to us. It was such a thrill to hear the heavy rumble and then watch those helicopters flying over our heads. Even though we could see them for mere seconds, it was somehow the best part of the Parade. One Republic Day Parade years ago, while we were still children, we neither heard nor saw them passing by. Dad told us that they'd changed the route, but we were hopeful. We ran outside the next two years as well, only to return disappointed. After that, over the years, we stopped expecting it.

2. Watching numerous dances performed by children from various schools all over the country. It lasted long, showed us colours of so many states, and felt wonderful. This time the number of performances was just 4-5 schools, most of them from Delhi itself. Duh.

3. Watching tableaus from nearly all states! It was like a revision of all Geography lessons at school. I miss watching the Delhi tableau and all others that were missing. Especially the CPWD tableau which was made entirely of flowers. (Though I hope it stopped because they decided not to pluck so many flowers. If not, then why? :/)

This essentially comes down to the fact that the entire duration of the Parade has been reduced. Everything seemed to run. Short. In pauses and quick glances. We saw the tablaeus (tukdis) but didn't really absorb what they were wanting to represent, because except for a few seconds' glance, we couldn't see much. And then there were all the missing things, invariably making it different from how we used to love them. Where was Punjab this time? Why were so many tableaus about government initiatives which we already see all the time, instead of a display of all that is Indian culture and uniqueness? I understand that we have to 'keep up with the times' and all that (like I really do like seeing more women in armed forces uniforms), but think about it, there's also been just one day in the year when everything all at once is being displayed. Why not stick to it?

There was always the strong feeling of patriotism just as the Parade began, only strengthening as it went on. The commentary used to be more detailed, so that we knew much more than just the names of things. Over the years, I feel we see more, hear less, and thus absorb less. The "feeling" of patriotism that the past years' Parade successfully brought out has become a little weak as we're rushing it up. Earlier, if we got up a little later, we would miss some of the Parade, but this time, we managed to get stuff done around the house before the Parade started. It's just not done. Nevertheless, many thanks to the organizers for making it happen, at least. It's just such a wonderful thing!

I asked my father what he misses from the past years' Parade. "I miss the commentary by Jasdev Singh (in Hindi) and Komal G.B. Singh (in English). It was delivered by such enthusiasm and style," he said.

What do you think?
Happy Republic Day, 2016!


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