The true meaning of Independence day becomes apparent when we are not anywhere near Indianness. Last year, we were all working on Independence Day. For the first time, we felt the need or the value of that holiday. Usually all we do on I-Day is louse around and enjoy the day off. But not this time. So, all we Indians, gathered together and decided to dress up like Indians or at least wear colors from the Indian flag. We wanted to sing the anthem and generally assert that we were Indians. But then, we were told that those activities may not be brooked too much. Plus, who wanted to mess with the client, when he was already at our throats, waiting for an opportunity to draw blood??? So, there we were all dressed up as well as we could. All of us kept up the spirit, including some desis at the client place. We all were proud of being Indian, especially in a foreign place. I guess it was more of the pride in being unique, but yeah, our patriotism was at its max! I guess, given the fact that we were in a totally Indian – oblivious setting, gave us a bigger wish to prove our uniqueness. You know, the ‘I celebrate what you can’t understand’ sort of defiance. Well, Zengin remarked that we should go to the Brit there and tell him, “ Aaj hi ke din hamaare logon ne tumhaare logon ko dhakke maar ke bhagaaya tha!”
We went for a desi lunch at Taj, complete with sweets, and celebrated the lunch as though it were a day of very high significance in our rather insignificant lives. At that time, Ash asked a question, I still haven’t been able to find the answer to. We were all harping on and on about ‘my country’, being first rate citizens, a sense of belonging, a sense of identification with the culture, the race. So the question was – ‘Do you really think all that makes a difference? I feel that any country is home, as long as I have friends and family there.’ I was vehement in denying that, saying I loved the essence of my land and so on, but on hind sight, looking at the everyday struggle to survive, in terms of crowded trains, traffic, a feeble infrastructure, corruption, ineffectiveness of leaders and the like, I am being forced to reconsider my stance. So, please do comment on what your take is, on this point, because sincerely, I haven’t been able to make up my mind!
And then, after thoroughly enjoying lunch, we all got back and gathering together, we Indians posed for pictures. Indians united in independence. Jai Hind!