Monday, August 16, 2004

Independence !

It is that time of the year when all chests swell with pride. When everyone is parroting the hackneyed speeches about the greatness of our culture and heritage, and on why it is such a special honour to be born in this hallowed land. Don't get me wrong here, I'm proud about a lot of things Indian. The Buddha, Mahatma , Himalayas, the languages and most of the other incredible things, but all this August 15th jingoism gets on my nerves at times. I think, patriotism, most often than not, simply is ignorance of what lies beyond your country's borders. "Patriotism is the conviction that your country is superior to all others because you were born in it". Mr.Shaw you said it so well. Almost always, a display of patriotism is appreciated more than patriotism itself. The dude in my office knows this pretty well. He gives us the opportunity to profess our love for our motherland. We duly stand in RSS-style straight lines, facing the tricolor, one-arm distance from each other, singing the national anthem. Most people don't remember the words, and those who do, don't understand them. This is a problem unique to my land, the land of a thousand languages. The flag hoisting is followed by that most indian of games, Antakshari. We endure the enthusiastic crowd singing out of key for a full half hour, and then the prize justifiably goes to the two prettiest girls. This is followed by a couple of populist announcements by the HR about the plans to increase the frequency of these cultural activities. We even hear speeches from a couple of phirangis. Nothing pleases us more than a white man endorsing our claims of being the richest of cultures. A more bizarre tribute to the independence day transpired a day before this. One of the clubs here decided to pay tribute to the famous Independence movement. And how do they do it? They invite the city's most famous hard rock bands to , in the words of the MC, "unleash some serious mayhem". The crowd divides it's attention between drugs and banging heads to the ear splitting sounds. Luckily for us misfits (26yr olds with moustaches, for God's sake!!!) there is a nook where sanity still prevailed and some great music was being dished out.A bloke called Kamal had us begging for more of his unpretentious good old melodies. If I was a betting man, I'd throw a lot of money on him making it big in the music world.

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