Dear Hrit and Naisha,
We were early at the bus stop today and I was struggling to while away time with the two of you as you ran around bubbling with your early morning energy. Then along came Tanu with his Dadu. He takes his bus from the same stop as you and over time has turned into a friend. He joined in the ruckus till his Dadu suggested, “Let’s sing songs while we wait for the bus”. Tanu went first and he sang ‘I salute the flag’ then launched into ‘Chhodo kal ki baatein’. “I am preparing for tomorrow’s Republic Day function,” he explained. As his Dadu took all your little hands in his large ones and explained to each of you the right way to salute I looked on filled with guilt and regret.
Yes, tomorrow is Republic Day. However, you think it's just another holiday. I am so sorry darlings I forgot to tell you that tomorrow is no ordinary holiday. I could of course blame it on the relief of not having to wake up early to a super chaotic morning or the excitement of having Daddy home all day (he’s been working the last two weekends and we’ve barely glimpsed him all this while). But I won’t. I will make a promise, however, of telling you about the wonderful country you were fortunate to be born in…
--- a country where you can light fireworks at Diwali, tuck into seviyans on Eid and and get gifts for Christmas – a triple whammy
--- a country where you, Zaheen, Jennifer and Gunraj can share tiffins at school without a thought
--- a country where mama can wear what she wants, go where she wants.
--- a country where you can say exactly what you want because everyone, yes everyone, is allowed to have their say
--- a country that that gives both of you equal freedom and equal rights
And when you grow up ours is a country that gives you the power to make it what you want. That’s a huge power and a huge responsibility. Use it well when you have it.
Tomorrow is special. It is our country’s real birthday and we shall celebrate it in style.
Meanwhile listen to this, our National Anthem. I get goose bumps and misty eyes when I hear it. I hope in time you too will learn to look beyond it’s melody and will stand up in pride and love to salute your country just like Tanu’s Dadu taught you.