71st year of Independence ....does that make me more patriotic? Does that make me think a bit more about my country? Does that make me go on an introspection mode? Does it all make me turn on the pages of those books which have always glorified my shelves with so many names, so many events, post colonisation, pre independence, freedom struggle. I ultimately run my hands over that little book; I remove the dust, open my eyes wide and gently press my fingers to turn on the page.
Patriotism has been confined in those little spaces , yes I do spell it for my daughter, I also make her write paragraphs and I ask her to sing that ‘Anthem'on the special day, we make a flag together, fill those tri colour spaces, colour the chakra with the specific colour and symmetry . ....the rest I tell her “This country is unique” still....
I pick up all the shady attributes, dark analogies, anarchic lingos , deranged slogans, lawless images, confused emotions, turbulent undertones from Cows to chaos, potholes to dog poo’s, sadhus to tabooed sex, jet speed carts to noisy honks, anarchic government offices to a tomato starved nation, choti cutter to ‘khule mein shauch’ ....you have it all .....Life, sound, fury....India I still feel alive every time I see you.....diversified, splendid, colourful, utterly unpredictable.
I found yellow, I touched orange, I lived green, I saw red and wherever my eyes turned I could see all those splendid colours unite together...utterly chaotic yet life peeped from every corner
I saw a dog, a bull, and an elephant on the little by lane, each living in harmony, who said we can’t.
I had no one to talk, I was lonely the last evening, I made a cup of tea for myself and the one who looks after our house, we chatted for a while, she had 4 kids, she also worked the whole day but she still smiled, we shared a joke and she asked me “How was it to travel in an aeroplane”, she never knew the word “spirit” but she had it.
My neighbour makes the best “kheer” she also keeps a bowl for us, sometimes she gifts me flowers from her maternal house.
I still sniff the oil soaked ‘bhature’ on the roadside dhaba, I still hold on to “tea cups” at the “chai ki dukaan” and talk about my “Nani” with a Stanger. That's my "India"
I wake up every morning and walk on the wet ground, my feet touching the soft mud, the chaos sets in, I get ready for another hectic day and the faraway music, I hear a faint sound coming from the nearby loudspeaker “Sare jaha se accha, Hindustan humara”, I knew with all its vices, I still belonged to this country, my chaotic land.... I was a free being, I felt thankful!
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