A pair of white canvas shoes that belonged to a boy in the D block of our apartment, a white shirt borrowed from my little cousin who stayed a few miles away, and I was still without the white skirt the night before the Independence day. A call to neighbours’ arranged a pair of white shorts from a boy in the A block. You see, the women folk (or women leaders) in my apartment decided on an agenda for Independence day that included a drill for the kids, and my 5 year old daughter was participating. We were told not to waste time and money in procuring drill costumes for this simple event but manage with what we could find within the apartment.
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The morning arrived, the grandfather was sent to fetch a white ribbon since the one we possessed had gone missing just when we needed it, the father was in charge of giving a shower, I rushed in for the shampoo bit and the grandmother made sure breakfast was eaten. My daughter was dressed and ready for the drill.
But she was ill prepared for the insult I had committed by getting her to wear a pair of shorts when the rest of the girls were in skirts. Her best friend sat next to her in a pretty white skirt. That quite unsettled her, she was visibly upset. So the best friend’s mother asked another best friend’s mother who was able to lend a skirt that would just do. A quick change from someone’s old pair of shorts to someone else’s slightly soiled skirt, but that was enough to light up my little one’s face. She does take her girlhood very seriously.
So there we were having quite a Dependence day for the Independence day making calls and connections to put together a drill costume. But all for a good cause, this dependency was truly in the spirit of Independence day.
As I finally settled down enjoy the celebrations, I breathed a sigh of relief. The flag-hoisting was followed by the national anthem. The fancy dress for the tiny ones with the theme as Indian freedom fighters was next, and the most notable was Rani Lakshmi Bai who refused to get off Mama’s lap and wailed in protest with attempts to put her down. Little Bhaghat Singh with the moustache and gun, Subramanya Bharathi with a huge turban bigger than his little head were impressive too.
We had a couple of speeches that tended to go on a bit, prompting us to put the respite to good use to gawk at each other, smile at faces we recognized on the other side of the room, gossip and yawn discreetly. This was followed by the drill which the kids executed rather smartly, and I rushed to capture my daughter’s part in it on film. Next we had a mix of desh-bhakti songs rendered with spirit by a group of women dressed beautifully in sarees. There were little gifts for the participants, chocolates for all, national anthem again and we departed the scene to enjoy the bliss of the rest of the holiday. ⊕