Tuesday, January 26, 2016

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.

14 comments:

  1. I get you. Somewhere down the line, the national holiday became a general much needed break. When my kids were younger, I got to relive some of the old patriotism through them. I even used to train bunches of kids to sing various patriotic songs on the occasion. And now the sheen has again started wearing off. Yet I make it a point to join the bldg celebrations and in the pretext meet other seldom seen residents. It is finally all about connecting and meeting people that increases the feeling of bonding and belonging. This post prompted a nostalgia trip for me :)

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    1. Ah yes.. that communal celebration strengthens bonding - I wish people would understand that.

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  2. I can understand... till school I was like that... then it seems life took over. When you see so much corruption in real life you start wondering where does the proud in proud Indian comes from. But now that I am sometimes imparting knowledge to my little cousins, I am reminded of all the things good and beautiful.

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    1. Kids do change your perspective, don't they? I love the fact that mine make me see beyond my cynicism.

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  3. I know what you mean, Tulika. It happened the same with me too, the celebrations in the apartment building made me join in the festivities with A, watching the 26th Jan parade on TV with him just as we did as kids certainly gives that high about our country. Oh, these patriotic songs give me goosebumps and somehow they manage to move me to tears always! Jai Hind :)

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    1. Me too. We DO have a country with a proud past and we need to be aware of it.

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  4. Wonderful! I loved reading this post. A healthy pride, respect and love for the nation is an important value which so many Indians are somehow forgetting to inculcate in themselves and their children. Without this, there can't really be a genuine sense of rootedness which is necessary in this fast globalizing world. Only a strong rootedness can help grow great wings to fly everywhere! Great post, Tulika!

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    1. Thank you Beloo. We forget all of this in the daily crowd of chores which is why I make sure we celebrate the special days.

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  5. "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."

    Tulika, this I can completely understand. Thanks to our children with whom we are actually revising our life lessons. :-)

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    1. You'd know with your daughters. Kids have so much enthusiasm for everything. It's a great feeling.

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  6. We went through the very same cycle too. Very patriotic as kids, reluctant patriots as adults, and now we have learnt to value everything that India represents; especially since we live so far away from home.

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    1. Ah yes.. living here in India we tend to take all our country stands for, for granted.

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  7. Proud to be an Indian. Lovely post.

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