Son: Father why is the flag on that house green in Color
Father: Because they are a Muslim Family
Son: Father why is the flag on that house Saffron in Color
Father: Because they are a Hindu Family
Son: Father look there is this flag which has both colors and also white.
Father: That's Indian Flag.
Son: Same one we have in our School, lets have this flag on our house
Son: Because ours is an Indian house.
Salaskar, Karkare and Kamte stood guard at the Gateway of India. Keeping a close watch on the coast lines. Thousands of people walked passed them, oblivious to their existence. Unnikrishnan came running and said "Sir let's go celebrate today with others, it's a very special day."
"No Krishnan" one of them said, "for them it's just one day 26th Jan or 15th Aug. But for us it's every day. We need to make sure our country is safe, so that they can enjoy."
As he was speaking, a group of children ran through them shouting "Vande Mataram".
On my way to office, a kid wearing neatly ironed school uniform walked by me near Teen Darwaza. He was doing the pathetic ‘Babaji ka Thullu’ dance looking at strangers on the road. Poor thing. I was dismayed.
Two hours later, walking back home, I saw him again. This time, he was saluting every tricolor replica that he came across, be it the one on the cycle, the electricity pole or lying on the road. How brilliantly contrasting effect the flag hosting ceremony can have! Perfect Homecoming on Republic day! With a wide grin, I started copying the kid.
The schoolteacher is trying her best to engage as many kids as possible. One of the students raises his hand before asking, “Why is history so important for us? I find it boring, don’t you?” The class gasps in unison while the lady-in-charge smiles. She asks the young rebel, “What do you find interesting then?” The boy says, “Science.” To which, the teacher says, “Well, science has history too, doesn’t it?” The boy nods along but makes another point, “I think our country needed science more than freedom.” The class breaks into muffled laughter and so does the teacher.
'Republic day bomb blast at Gateway of India' First theme which came to my mind. Too common and naive on a second thought. That made me think about competition.
Paro and Divya will be wondering what they have to do to crack top four again in this life.
Monathais and Matilda will be busy searching some fancy words to make me refer dictionary at least 5 times every week.
For Neil, well he will skip this one as there is no way he can sell another sex story on this frame.
The cold wintery night was making its presence felt. A numb Subedar Pratap picked up the empty pan and tapped it with a spoon few times. The string of music reminded him of his childhood, but before the words could come out, a bullet pierced the darkness. The red blood on the olive green covered the white serenity of his face. And somewhere a different music broke out.
“I see them all” he said with a gleam in his eye. “Everyone has a story. Everyone’s so different”
“Kids, adults, old people, Indians, Italians, Americans, Kenyans, Australians.” chimed in the other.
“Cops, robbers, saints, pedophiles, prostitutes, lovers.”
“That woman there, she turns up every month and just sits there looking at the hotel and then the birds” he pointed out, a sense of tender understanding in his voice.
“Times Square? They haven’t seen the Gateway!”
”Welcome Sir. Vande Mataram!” they exclaim in unison as they plant the tri-color into the pole and disappear into the celebrating parade.
Every year, on her birthday, Miriam would come with his mother in the same spot: near the Gates of India. Wishing to receive an explanation which never came. Until today.
“22 years ago, I was an US expat here in Mumbai. I met your father during Republic Day Parade. It was love at first sight. Three months later I got pregnant. When I told him the big news, he stopped talking to me. He moved to US permanently the day you were born.”
“Mom, why did you remain here?”
“Because I wanted you to grow up where love happened.”
Drug menace was threatening the future generation and providing crime money for anti-national activities in the state.
The Enforcement Directorate deputed their most competent officer to investigate. One day he got a tip-off that the Mafia Kingpin is visiting a particular spot. He spotted a white car approaching and tried to stop it. But it tried to escape by speeding up. He chased and intercepted it near the State Secretariat. He froze seeing the brother of the most powerful politician in the car.
Next day he was transferred to a remote place in the North East.
And here I was.. Free…. I have No idea which place is this...what I know is I have just crossed a sea and seems like as though this gigantic Gate is made to welcome me.
Right above me is an infinite sky signifying opportunities, Besides a Sea, which seemed just Like my 'Life'-always striving to go further the shore and below me is a crazy crowd. There is a rhythm in this chaos and that piece of cloth hanging adjacent to that tall gate is giving a soothing experience. Even I am feeling Free
I am merely a bird!!!
I can see the blue skies; the birds look so tiny from down here. It's such a beautiful sight, when I look up. It's funny how everything and everyone is looked at as beautiful, or with respect, when up. It's only when you fall, do you rise to become wise enough...you learn, no one really respects you. Like here I am, only a piece of paper that is stamped on by pseudo-patriots.
The Gateway of India at Apollo Bunder, Mumbai. Built to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary of England in 1911. Built to showcase the British subjugation of the Indian people. A symbol of shame, maybe? Take your pick.
Every time I see it, it reminds me that this was where Kasab and his gang landed and wreaked havoc over my beloved city.
We’re an emotional nation which hates foreign rule and cross border terrorism. But we don’t mind electing corrupt and criminal people to rule over us. They’re our own, you see.
Sahil's painting looked exactly like the picture of Gateway of India, clicked by his most valued client. He had mastered the art of photorealism. About that time, his phone rang. It was his mother.
"Where are you?"
"I am at Zephyr's workshop."
"But, you should be in office right now.."
"They fired me," he smoothly lied. Sahil chuckled to himself and painted a bird in his frame. Today he was a free man, just like that bird in the frame. The artist in him had beckoned him to quit his smothering job. So be it.
The visit was their annual ritual.
“This is where they entered from.” he murmured, looking at the sea. “Why would anyone do such a thing?”
“There are bad people in this world Raja. But then, there are good people too.”
“Baba was a good man. He protected the innocent.”
She remembered that night 6 years ago; when they called to tell her that her husband had been killed in the line of duty. Sometimes, she felt he was still around.
“So will I.” he added.
She hugged her son and smiled. This time, she knew he was definitely around.
These days everything seemed taller and bigger than him. It's been a few months, but he hasn't got used to it, not yet. In a life of 24 years, what did 6 months count for? But he knew what time meant, especially what 1 night of drinking could mean. He remembered the accident, the one that took his legs away and left him feeling small, physically and emotionally. He left home today for the first time since the accident to attend the Flag hoisting. The Flag looked bigger too, like everything else, but this one, gave him hope. India’s hope. He will survive.
Shaqib was being restless, sweating and nervousness had surrounded him, with no chance of his escape.
'I have to do this, my countrymen will be proud!'-He thought and smiled.
Two days passed, and came the most awaited day. It was time now.
He checked his dress and moved towards the main entrance of Red Fort.
He smiled again and wore the mysterious cap.
"ATTENTION! MARCH STRAIGHT!"
A voice commanded, not of an ordinary person, but of Saqib.
There he was, leading his India's army.
Tri-color waved in pride, today. This time an Indian has won over terrorism.
Somewhere, birds chirped and audience smiled, maybe with pride.
It was her birthday. Well, birth anniversary.
He remembered her standing straight when the National anthem played in cinemas, shining her shoes for the NCC parades, marching proudly at the state march on Independence Day.
He looked across at the Taj Mahal Hotel. She was 22 when the terrorists attacked on 26/11/2008. She had called to say: “Don’t worry Papa”, proudly adding, “I got four people out from the side gate.”
And he thought, “Patriotism is not what you celebrate, it's what you do.”
The retired Major stood at attention and raised his hand in a salute.
Bright and sunny days greeted Vinod. He had nursed the hope to be among the best. Struggling through the corporate ladder had never been his cup of tea, so he was out of that world soon. He always thought of himself as that eagle that soared over the Gateway of India. He had a perfect partner; a photo perfect house and kids. But all was not fine. He had just consulted his doctor. He had to get himself admitted soon. He had been suffering, delaying yet, and now, it was all over. The diagnosis said last stage colon cancer.
'Why did you join the Indian Army ?' asks the news reporter interviewing a veteran soldier on his last day in the army. The soldier placidly replies 'you have never lived until you have almost died for the flag. The protected will never know'. After his last dinner with the army, the soldier broodingly packs his bags to return home. His gloomy face plainly expresses his desire to stay here. Some dreams are so worthy; it's glorious even to fail at them. The dream to live and die for the flag is one of them.
The maddeningly frightened crowd dispersed in all possible direction. Ramesh, the owner of a three-wheeler tempo, took a sharp turn into a narrow lane. Gun totting men lay in hot pursuit, like usual it was one of his days at work. Once at home, the news of the hostage crisis at Gateway Of India, reached his ears. His workplace was nothing short of a sweatshop, with menial pay.
He had to slog for his daughter, the look in her eyes, when she saw the broiler suit, was worth it. He couldn't ask for more.
I stood there hoisted on 15th August 1947. It was a great day for me. I had finally been released from my chains and could freely fly with the winds. People respected me and treated me like a hero. But who knew that the fame was only short lived.
68 years have gone by and I still stand there hoisted on a poll. People remember me like a martyr only on 26th January and 15th August. Otherwise they just walk by. I am just another flag for them. How I wish that those glorious days of mine came back.
She, a dancer, a performer, her eyes narrated the story and her body moved. But the fate had plans and it cheated her.
She lost her expressions, confidence and life.
Ah!! The acid, it burns not the skin but life. Happiness left her.
He was there, as her shadow for he believed in her.
She is back on the stage today. People came but to show sympathy, to brag how they felt for her.
The same narration and the same movement, But it left everyone mesmerized.
His belief in her!! Love! Life!
Why is the Indian flag called ‘Tricolour’ when it actually has four colours?
Why did they build the Gateway of India when we already had the India Gate?
If the army participates in the parade, who protects and guards the nation on Republic Day?
These are questions, which the Internet can answer today.
The same questions were funny when a child asked them innocently, years back.
One more Republic Day gone.
I’ve seen all 66.
Time was when leaders laid down their lives for their motherland.
Today neither leaders nor people have that love.
This strange species called Man has metamorphosed into a wicked self-centered creature with hollow compassion.
Earlier, less was more. People were happy, content with less.
Today, more begets more, still more...there is no satisfaction.
People run behind a mirage of happiness.
Man cruelly harms man... with no remorse...just for personal gain.
Are we heading towards Doom’s Day?
Or will God descend again on this earth to destroy evil?
It was just another day. The flag had been lying on the floor since 12 hours. Everyone saw, ignored, admired the monument and walked by. Just another day until Sushma arrived. She had an early morning duty today. While sweeping the road, a piece of cloth stopped her and when she picked it up she felt disgusted. Ran to the nearest public tap, washed and rinsed it, and hoisted it in it's full glory. The sun rose, pleasant breeze accompanied and flag fluttered. After all, she deserved a special thank you.
Every day of his life, he sold peanuts near the giant structure that attracted a lot of tourists. This would be his last day at work. He would spend the rest of his living days travelling around this place he called home. He was lost in his dreams when the commotion began. A muted spit fire later, he was no more.
A lifetime of dreams ended in a single frame. The drone did not understand it.
"Look ma! This is the place they are going to take us for excursion this year. Can I please go? All my friends are going. Please ma, can I?"
She didn't have the heart to tell her kid that they could not afford it. "When is the last date to enroll?" She asked instead.
"Ok, I will talk to your father about it".
"Thanks ma", the kid chirped.
Two days later, a terrorist attack rocked the place and all visits were called off. The trip had to be cancelled.
This is the Gateway, standing alpine.
A symbol 85 ft high, of strong foundations and bold intents, witnessing a terror attack in recent times. Psalm of thrilled ecstasy can be read on its countenance.
Tourists returned towards their bus, praising the arches and windows frescoed. A sovereign in its tall bearing stands erect. A freedom in India's air that waves its tri-colour flag charms history and future both.
The bus proceeded towards Wankhede Stadium to witness India's sportsmen spirit.
7 Years was a long Time… He left the country praying to siphon off the last remnants of her memories off his being... He recalling standing outside the airport, saluting the flag, hoping never to return.
And back he was… Pulling off the luggage out of the Terminal, the first whiff of rain filled air he inhaled so familiar… Smelt like home… Jet-lagged, Lost in thoughts, train of buildings whizzing past… And then he remembered, he didn’t wish to travel this route... Too late… As the Cab passed by the very familiar gate of her Home…
Tugging my hand, my father said, "Look. This is the Gateway of India." Nodding, my brain registered the words but meaning, far out of reach. The Gateway didn't seem a gate. A Big House. I would live in such a House one day. Does anyone live here? I thought to ask, but kept quiet. Father again tugged, "That's our Indian Flag. Give a salute." I obeyed. Flag....? Same drill! I liked the colors though.
Aryan looked at his four year old son, seemingly lost somewhere. Probably dreaming, he smiled. After all, Mumbai is the City of Dreams.
One day I was sitting on a chair,
Eating golgappas at a shop near a school.
As soon as I gulped my first golgappa
I heard our national anthem and saw our tricolor flag flying high,
I didn’t do anything and shifted my focus back to the golgappas.
I saw a man sitting on a wheelchair trying hard to get up.
I said, "Hey mate you don’t have to get up no one is watching you"
He smiled and said "I am not doing it for others
I am doing it for my country & myself". I felt sheepish.
Who would have thought that a young boy living on streets surviving on selling small items like Flowers, Toys, Flags would one day lead a majestic MIG squadron on the Rajpath during National Republic Day?! One day he saw a Father-Son-duo flying kite and requested them to teach him how to fly it but was shunned. He promised himself he would fly high and then progressed to selling newspapers and enrolled in NGO's free night school. And the pic told the rest. It happens only in India.
Jubilant January’s zephyr at the Gateway of India. Kaleidoscopic colors & diversity flocked the venue.
Before I could frame that in my camera, a little boy asked, “Sir, Please take Flags. Independence Day. Less Price”
“It’s Republic day “& I ruffled his hair
“Sorry Sir, two days in a year I sell flags. It is all the same for me. Thanks for buying” & he went for the next customer
A beleaguered sun collapsed into the sea. The grandiose of the Gateway was fading along with the cadence of a long lost song.
“Aye Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahan…
The flag fluttered disconsolately. The day after Republic Day wasn’t quite that important. The police cordons had disappeared. The important people had gone back to their glass buildings and their air-conditioned offices. The usual crowds now thronged around the sandstone monument again. The smell of popcorn and salt spray hung heavy in the air.
People milled around, treading over the fireworks, banners and residual patriotism of the day before. Back to the grind, uncaring again, their biannual fervor extinguished.
The boy with the backpack looked at the blue sky, breathed in the air and pressed the detonator.
To start with, I could write on that ignored lamppost, the one hoisting the Tricolor. Because writing on independence would be too obvious. Umm...the next usual suspect is the gateway that stands tall and yet alone. And that bird is an epic symbol of free will, laughing at all of us as we get fooled by mere notion of being free.
Alas! It struck me, the irony! How they all are captured in a tiny frame! So much for the freedom!
67 years later, all I could think of is: "For the people, by the people, F*** the people."
Shadows, they scale down anything to a single plane and converges all colours to a unified dark patch of minimal expression. Two shadows that now lay on the tiled floor; none possess the pride of signifying the motherland anymore. A balloon-selling child wearing torn, dirty cloths, a Killer-clad desi-dude, and people from distant lands, bird in sky- shadows of all merge and lose their identity in another meaningless fleck! A picture is sometimes what it doesn't show but what it may mean to you, just like a shadow.
He had dreams and high hopes. Haashid had always wanted to become an actor.He had packed his bags one day and left his home without looking back. “I will be famous one day”,he vowed as others laughed at him. He finally had taken the first step as he bid his mother good bye.He boxed all that he owned, even though it was not much. He remembered that day when he landed in Mumbai and saw the grandeur. Distraught he felt as he saw this view everyday when he poured tea for men who came here with the same dream.
Two stumbling legs, a skinny chest and quivering lips were passing through the midst of dense fog. Soon he marked a decent place for this so-called-eventful day. He checked his wooden box again, a pair of brush, shoe polishes, black and brown each. The entire ‘Maidaan’ was pantomimed as he expected, Tricolor Flags, snow-dressed kids, and speeches about Sarv-shiksha-abhiyan, Midday-Meals, Equality, Vikas and some Pragati.
He too went to school once, they enquired his name,
“Full name?” and ostracized in class.
His concentration moved back to his growling stomach. A blank slate was beaming jocularly at a black shoe.
He was a captive. He died trying to taste freedom. But now he lives, in souls free. They unfurl the banner of the freedom that he had died for. They have painted it in the colours of his selfless, honest and faithful endeavour. It flutters freely,atop monuments and structures standing tall, their heads held high, under a clear blue sky. It's roots are dug deep in an earth, soaked in innocent blood. But the land flourishes, undeterred, unrestrained and unfettered.
She went up the rickety, narrow staircase. The huge building reeked of ancient history, deterioration and dark secrets.
He said he’d meet her here. He had a story to tell.
She entered the room. Eerie silence greeted her.
Cautious ‘her’ warned, “DON’T”
The journalist in her replied “Shut up”
Then she saw it, the movement on the Ouija board.
See that flag... I was about 20...
*The Ouija board tapped the letters...*
But the talking spirit was a hidden device connecting the board to an old man, a long forgotten fugitive desperately trying to tell the world the truth...
Like an Indian avatar of Dorian Grey, his black and white picture stared at her from the corner of the laptop or phone at ungodly hours. He had been working his way deep under her skin, for months, occupying her life with his charming, intoxicating words until she could function no more.
She waits nervously by the colossal Gateway of India, a sweet scent of mango dancing in the Mumbai air. Her blue dress, slightly creased after the long flight from London.
"Evie ! his urgent call making her jump.
Their eyes meeting, engulfing one another's hungry gaze.