Celebrating India’s Independence: Photos from the Street
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.