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Celebrating India’s Independence: Photos from the Street

15th August, 2010

Today, the 15th of August, is India’s independence day.

I’m a little enthusiastic about such things. Patriotic, if you want to call it that. So I landed up at a flag hoisting ceremony at a school. Luckily this wasn’t at some unearthly hour (my own school used to, and still does, have it at 5:00 am) and the ceremonies started at a respectable 9:00 am.

India's 63rd Independence Day

Oh it was awesome. You see those balloons in the photograph above? Yup, they were released in the air!

The funny thing is, looking at those kids wide-eyed to learn more about their nation, I felt like I’ve slowed down. My excitement, enthusiasm and energy in debating the pluses and minuses of India have all subsided. As a kid, I was inspired, I was encouraged to make a difference. (Shameless self-promotion: In Class IV I started the “Green Trees Club” that would recycle paper wasted in the arts classes of our school!). Did adulthood wash off those dreams?

On my walk back home, I saw a small room with a man chopping away onions. The doors were open and I could see the dark and dreary inside of a back-end kitchen. But out there, on its broken window, was a small sign that made all the difference.

India's 63rd Independence Day

The wall paint might have peeled off, the window sill might have rusted, but that small plastic flag still fluttered in the wind. It’s a symbol, after all. Of freedom. Of the right to speak. Of dignity, and the right to live with respect. Our country has faced many odds, calamities, internal and external threats, but we’ve held our ground. We stood tall.

India's 63rd Independence Day

Even small vegetable shops on the way unfurled their own flag. Wasn’t it a sign that they could do their business freely, fairly and without fear? That shop owner could be from any background, any creed, any race, but nothing should stop him from his entrepreneurial spirit. The Indian flag, residing next to his shop, symbolizes a lot more than just three colours and a chakra (wheel).

India's 63rd Independence Day

And in the last leg of my walk, I saw a little kid trying to cycle faster than a motorbike. Ha! I stopped him. Look at those flags! Not to miss the tri-coloured balloon. I asked him to pose for a photograph and he gave me a really inspiring look (the let-me-go-now-or-else look) that you see above. Such a small thing made me think. Can I really make a difference?

To think of it, all the small things make a difference. Or at least add up to make a difference some day. If I just stopped myself from throwing an ice cream cup on the road, instead carried it to a dustbin, I made a difference. Or if I just segregated the bottles from being thrown into a trashcan, and recycled them, I made a difference.

In this inter-connected, mashed up world, where information and ideas spread as fast as light, making a difference isn’t really difficult.

I’d like to celebrate India’s 63rd Independence Day pledging to do just that: making a difference. Maybe you could too.

Yes, yes. This post is for BlogAdda’s Mera Bharat Mahan Contest. You know, those Pingoo shirts (my favourite design is here).

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. Arjun permalink
    15th August, 2010 3:29 PM

    Very well written.Enjoyed it.Thanks.

  2. 15th August, 2010 5:56 PM

    Hope lives on. 🙂 Small gestures but well captured, both in pictures and words.

    Respect K’Tall!

    • 16th August, 2010 10:57 AM

      Pzes? Puzzles? Poozies? At least K’Tall makes sense! hehehe!

    • 16th August, 2010 11:41 AM

      Haha… You will never know

  3. delhizen permalink
    16th August, 2010 10:17 AM

    A vry nice Post K, and you know we also put up a flag in our garden!

    In fact I live in that part of Delhi which is close to Red Fort so every year on Republic Day we step out of our gates and see the parade walking past ( I have some pics too) and Independence Day we wake -up early to listen to the speech and see flag hoisting! still gives goose bumps when you hear the national anthem

    • 16th August, 2010 11:07 AM

      Near Red Fort? Wow! I’m sure the experience there must be surreal. Goosebumps? Same here! I think we fill that song with so much more – hopes, aspirations, criticism – it almost assumes a new identity. Goosebumps would be a normal reaction!

  4. 16th August, 2010 10:33 AM

    Dude, now you are really making me feel like a jerk.. I did really abandon this special ceremony for stupid Baileys and Hooka.. *this mistake shall never be repeated*. Wonderfully captured, this had a very “rustic”, “earthly” feel to it. Sometimes, the simplest of things can give rise to the most overwhelming of thoughts. This post gives rise to those thoughts.

    • 16th August, 2010 11:11 AM

      Oh common! Baileys + Hookah is definitely a better combination 🙂

  5. 18th August, 2010 4:02 AM

    Hi

    This is live telecast on your site, I like your pretty work.. Thanx to share

    Proud be an Indian

  6. 18th August, 2010 8:58 AM

    Yes small things do make a different. I just hope that this time the patriotism in everyone lives on for throughout the year, and not just limited to I-Day and R-Day.
    Good Post

    • 18th August, 2010 10:07 AM

      You know, you made a really good point there. While I understand the importance of certain symbols and dates, it really shouldn’t stop us from being “patriotic” throughout the year!

  7. 20th August, 2010 5:29 PM

    Loved the way your pics carried forward your narrative.

    The post had a very soothing feel to it.

    • 21st August, 2010 12:28 AM

      Thanks a lot – it means a lot coming from an amazing writer like you!

  8. 26th August, 2010 7:14 PM

    hey well must say great way of presentation. hats off….

    keep it up.

  9. 2nd September, 2010 8:19 PM

    Nice post with nice pics!!
    And Blog was Very Good!!

    • 3rd September, 2010 12:06 AM

      Thanks a lot Sahithi! I like this photo-essay format (so that I have to write less), and hope to get some more out!

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