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MUMBAI,NEETI SARKAR: Today, India celebrates her 67th Republic Day. And while for many belonging to the older generation the morning is typically dedicated to watching the parade on television, right from witnessing the President unfurl the tricolour as the national anthem plays and the 21-gun salute is given, to enjoying the performances of schoolchildren from across the country, there is a younger generation that seems to have devised its own way to mark the day, perhaps with less rigorousness, more abandon, and a lot more innovation.
Photo: SaJidul IsLam
“One of the things I love most about belonging to a defence family is the innumerable stories my grandfather, father, and uncles have to share. It is a given that people like these swell with patriotism at any given time, but come Republic Day or Independence Day, and it reaches a new high. I have friends who don’t come from a similar background and for who Republic Day has always been just another holiday, so last year I invited four of them over for lunch and then we all just sat around the table with the elders in my family listening to all their valiant stories, and I think since that day, none of these friends ever take their freedom or security for granted,” recounts Piash Samal, a student of aeronautics engineering.
According to Supraja Kumar, another college student, “In school we were always involved in some performance or the other that we would eagerly look forward to. In my first two years of college, Republic Day went by studying for exams that were scheduled the following day. This year, however, with the exams done and dusted, my friends and I are going to do a movie marathon. While we usually watch chick flicks or TV series like FRIENDS, this year we’ve got a good line up of our favourite patriotic movies from Swades and Rang de Basanti to Chak de India!”
Home baker Annie Kurian recounts how right after watching the parade on TV with her parents, she gets down to baking.
“Two years ago, I made tricolour cupcakes, which I distributed to the kids in my building. Last year, I tried making this fusion recipe of a gulab jamun cheesecake that I found online and it tasted really nice, surprisingly! This time, I’ve joined hands with another home baker friend and we are making a variety of goodies such as pistachio cookies, kesar flavoured macarons, chocolate flavoured tricolour cake pops and dessert jars, for a fundraiser in aid of construction workers’ children.”
In cricket-crazy India, there’s no excuse to not play a match or two on a holiday. “Since ours is a start-up with only a few employees, every year, on Republic Day, my office organises a friendly cricket match where we invite kids from the slums to come and play with us. Some of these kids would have never even held a bat before or owned a ball for that matter. And it’s just so amazing to spend the day with them and bring some kind of joy to their lives. We also pool in money and buy them food and toys that they can take home,” says Sujay Shanthamurthy, a client-relations executive.
“Growing up, we always did something patriotic and constructive on Republic Day,” says Tarana Mohsin, a political science teacher.
She adds, “However, the times have changed and so have today’s kids. We cannot get them to mark the day the way we used to. We as teachers and parents have got to be more innovative. In school, through the past week, I engaged my 11th and 12th graders in a rather new way. One day I hosted a quiz on the Indian constitution for them, another day, the kids themselves moderated a debate on ‘Constitutional amendments in 21st century India’, and we even set up a mock drafting committee! A lot of learning and fun happened. Back home, with my own kids, I got them to work on some craft ideas I sourced from the net. So I’ve made tricolour bracelets with Scooby wires!”