Category: Republic Day

The Magic of New Beginnings #GratitudeCircle

The Magic of New Beginnings #GratitudeCircle

A week into February and the New Year hasn’t quite lost its sheen yet. That essentially means I’m going strong with my exercise routine, even though the weighing machine doesn’t seem to have noticed!

Anyhow, I am grateful my spirits are still up, and that’s the most important thing.

We began the year with..

…the almost-teens staying up till midnight for the very first time. The Husband was home and four of us stayed in watching a film award show (my guilty pleasure!), eating chips, pizza and cake and washing it all down with coke and wine (no guilt for those, after all it was New Year’s Eve. However this could give you some idea why the weighing machine doesn’t move :-)).

Other than the food we also indulged in serious celebrity spotting exclaiming at how cute Ranveer and Deepika looked while N rued that Zero didn’t make an appearance anywhere at all. H pretended to be annoyed at all the excitement and continued trying to roll his eyes (he still can’t). The Husband sat calling up people wishing them a happy new year in an attempt to ‘beat the rush after midnight’. And no he wouldn’t move to another room, he sits right there trying to speak above the sound of the telly, gesturing to us to turn down the volume, completely oblivious to our dagger-looks. It’s called a ‘mobile’ phone for a reason, I would have tried to tell him in the old times. Not any longer. Over two decades of marriage one learns to manage and so I simply turned up the volume while H and N wrestled the phone out of his hands. Once done, all was peaceful.

Just as the clock struck twelve

..we headed towards our beds but someone started off a fantastic display of fireworks. N ran to the balcony and called out to the rest of us. And so we sat out watching the display with the children oohing and aahing happily. That’s really the best thing about being a parent, looking at things through the children’s eyes makes them  new and exciting.

The Husband slept off soon after but I could hear the children chatting away above his snores. That was the most reassuring sound ever – the sound of them bonding – allaying my fears that I was bringing up Kane and Abel.

School started

…and much as I like having the children home, it’s a relief to have the house to myself. I love that their school always begins midweek to get us all in the rhythm of things and also that their uniforms are the most hassle free ever, no hooks or pleats or belts or ties.

More excitement..

..came this month with Republic Day celebrations in our apartment complex. I love N’s enthusiasm that never flags despite everything being against her. No matter what happens she manages to get together a band of children and put up a performance each year. There’s much discord during the process. She comes home each evening with a bagful of complaints (everyone wants the lead role, no one is listening to me, no one is coming for practice, they aren’t serious at all…) and yet she sticks it out. I have to admit that many  times, fed up with the arguments, I’ve told her to let it go (Yup, not supportive at all) but each evening she goes down with renewed enthusiasm. This year was special because H actually lent her a hand where once he used to be as bad as the rest of them. He helped her by restoring order and goofing around only when things got too serious. One more kick in the pants to my Kane and Abel theory.

I went to check a few final practices and I have to admit they’d done quite well, given the constraints.

Work wise too January has been a productive month

… with collaboration offers coming in. I read and blogged better than I’ve done in some time. It must be the New Year effect that makes me optimistic and happy. If only January 1st could come around more often than just once a year, it would do me  world of good.

Till that happens I’m hoping to carry my upbeat spirit as long as I can through the year.

How did 2019 begin for you?

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle.

Izzat is a strange thing

Izzat is a strange thing

I usually do not watch news on the television. I’m quite happy to wait for my morning newspaper or whatever I find online. News channels are so heavily polarised they leave me confused and utterly frustrated. I already have the twins who do a fine job of that, so no TV for me thank you.

But my parents were here and the evening news is their daily fix. So we sat around the telly and we watched. We watched a mob on a vandalising spree. It burnt down vehicles (about 200 odd), looted mobile phone shops and smashed glass facades of multiplexes protesting against a film. I sat there wondering why people would destroy multiplexes which had already agreed to not screen said film.

Do you hear me now when I say news is puzzling?

Meanwhile elsewhere in the country, protestors ran amuck brandishing swords, burning tyres, stopping trains, setting fires to buses and blocking roads.

One man tried to immolate himself in Varanasi.

Someone announced a reward of 1 crore to the person who could chop off the lead actress’ ears and nose.

Some others decided to pelt stones on a school bus full of children, the youngest of whom was merely four.

All for izzat, honour.

I flipped channels to land on another visual of Rajput women, heads covered, izzat fully in place, saying nothing mattered more to them, not food nor drink, but their honour.

And all of that honour was centred on the non-release of this one film. A film about a woman dead for countless decades. A film none of them had even watched. A film that the Censor Board as well as the Supreme Court, had watched, had gone over with a tooth comb over and over and over again and found alright.

So you see, this izzat is a strange thing. It gets tarnished rather easily – by a book, a story, a dialogue, a film, by a piece of art or fiction. And then it forces people to take to the streets to restore it.

At other times however, it proves to be unbelievably tenacious remaining clean and intact even when these same people make, watch and share suggestive videos or gyrate to provocative songs. It remains untouched when they line the streets and pass lewd comments. It isn’t sullied when they pull out women from cars and rape them or when they throw out their infants to die on the streets.

Strange thing, this izzat.

What’s even stranger and utterly disappointing is the reaction of the people in power, the administration.

Rather than resolving to make sure peace prevails, they choose to turn a blind eye. They looked the other way as a 2000 people strong crowd gathered and charged the multiplexes. They made sure police arrived just as the mob had done its bit and had dispersed. Bollywood style.

Four states went on to ban the film.

The Deputy CM of a state advised people to not watch the film in order ‘to maintain law and order’. Nope, it isn’t his job to ensure that. It is ours. And so we stayed away from the film, away from malls and multiplexes. And even though I’m not a mall person that irked, because this isn’t the country I was proud of, the country I taught my children to be proud of.

I’ve always chosen to be upbeat and optimistic. But this Republic Day I feel only lost and disheartened. Even as I dress up my daughter in the traditional sari for celebrations at school, I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate. How can I, when I see my freedom erode, bit by bit right before my eyes. And I wonder how many more liberties I will have to give up for ‘maintaining law and order’, for protecting the izzat of God knows who.

How far will you go for your 15 minutes of fame?
Flaunt your patriotism

Flaunt your patriotism

It’s Republic Day today. I woke up to the sound of Mere Desh ki Dharti being played somewhere on a loudspeaker. H picked it up and started singing it with the lyrics all wrong. That always irks me – another one of my pet peeves – this thing about music being just beats and no lyrics.

Anyway, in correcting H I ended up explaining the age old song to the kids. And then since I couldn’t remember the whole thing I googled it. The song is definitely dated but the pride of belonging to a wonderful country shines clearly through.
National Holidays used to be big days when we were kids – they still are back home for my parents, who make it a point to go to their alma-maters for flag hoisting. National pride was a big deal. Independence would still have had a new sheen to it, for our parents at least. And we caught the patriotism bug from them.

Somehow along the way, what with work and life, they became ‘just another holiday’ to me – a day to plan a picnic, or sleep in, or tackle that list of unending chores. Is it just me or does it have something to do with changing times? All of it just became uncool. I didn’t stop feeling patriotic, I always did and will always do, but it definitely became uncool to flaunt it.
Then along came the kids and in trying to teach them about India I am relearning too – their enthusiasm is contagious. When they were younger they wanted tricolour balloons and charkhis and tricolour food and tricolour clothes – the whole deal. And I did it all with them.
They’re growing up. N still childlike, revels in all the festivities. H is already reluctant to wear Indian clothes because ‘they are uncomfortable’ yet I persist. Patriotism is much more than clothes, I know, but this one day let’s go all Indian when we sing the National Anthem on Republic Day, I tell him.  So then how can I not ditch my trustee jeans and pull out my orange/green/white salwar kurta too?

I do so happily, and I go down for the flag hoisting. I sing the National Anthem aloud, I eat the laddoo with relish and I try to make the day as special as I possibly can. I flaunt my patriotism as much as my self-conscious self will allow. I find I’m getting better at it and I’m liking it too.

I’ll always be grateful to the kids for reawakening National Pride in me.

Leaving you now with one of my favourite songs from the film Purab aur Paschim. Manoj Kumar is corny and Saira Banu is downright ludicrous in that blonde wig and with the swirling cigarette smoke, but the song is to die for. It makes me all warm and proud to be an Indian. Do hear out the lyrics.

A new beginning

A new beginning

He tried hard, desperately hard, to survive, seeking support from his community, his religion, his people. Once, he had been completely invincible. But then as strong hands came together holding up the proud flag … orange and green .. he died, forever. Where there is unity, strife has to die. He died because they wouldn’t accept him.


Today’s prompt was ‘They said he died because they wouldn’t accept him’. I refuse to mourn on such a happy day and so decided to celebrate the end of strife and all else that’s not well with our country.


And with that we come to the end of our week long 55 festival at Marathon Bloggers. What a blast it has been.

The Makers of a Republic

The Makers of a Republic

Those of you who’ve been here before will know how often I’ve cribbed about the fuddy-duddy managing committee of our society that creates roadblocks for all kid-friendly events. Despite them, this last year we managed to have some fun on Independence Day  and then again on Children’s Day . However, the two events took the wind out of our sails. When Republic Day came around all the mums were reluctant to take up the responsibility of yet another celebration, what with the kids falling ill, hectic work pressures and absconding maids.

And so the children decided to take things in their own hands. A bunch of them (all below 10 years) got together, decided on the events, made out notices then went to the Cultural Committee Head for permissions. Not satisfied, they went around to all the senior society members’ homes, waking them up from their siesta’s, disturbing their peaceful tea-times and shaking them literally and figuratively out of their insouciance.

Soon enough a member came to me with the complaint. Why me? Well because when asked which adults were organising the event they came up with mine and a fellow mum’s name. We got quite an earful about how we were making the kids run around instead of following the ‘protocol’.. yeah protocol is everything here. A completely clueless me heard her out, tried to convince her of my innocence and wriggle out of the situation with absolutely no luck. “Since the kids’ have said it, both of you might as well handle it,” we were told.

Apparently the equally clueless fellow mum had been nominated MC by her daughter while Hrit Naisha had volunteered to get the medals on my behalf.

Come Saturday morning we were scrambling around getting the tables and chairs laid out, organising juice and sweets and herding a bunch of super jubilant kids to the ground for the Sports Day. We had no clue about the number of participants, the sequence of events or even what the events were!

Two dads were called upon to police the finish line till we found out we HAD no finish line. One of them was dispatched to get the finish-line ribbon while the other busied himself fiddling with the camera.

As it turned out we had the most chaotic, most crazy, most happy Republic Day. Oh there were the tears and the fights (I didn’t get a medal, I didn’t here the get-set-go, I WANT a gold) but as mums and dads that’s part of our lives.

Is it the first time I’ve said the happiest events are often the most spontaneous one?
Check out the happy faces here…

The winners

This is how Wikipedia defines a Republic..
A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter” (Latin: res publica), not the private concern or property of the rulers…

That’s what we have here – a mini-republic, made possible by the young ones of our society. Three cheers to the new generation.


On my other blog: Beat About The Book

The Girl Who Drank the Moon #BookReview

The Girl Who Drank the Moon #BookReview

Book: The Girl Who Drank the MoonAuthor: Kelly Barnhill This is the story of a town, a cursed town. On its outskirts lies a greater forest. In this forest lives a wicked old witch. The witch demands sacrifice and so each year an infant is taken away by the town elders and left in the […]