The parade may not have changed much over the years, but we still love it – (excerpts from an article in the Times of India.)
I am a very patriotic guy. I am one of the many people who watch the Republic Day parade on Doordarshan with a huge lump in my throat and an inherent belief that I live in the greatest country in the world.
I love every part of the Republic Day parade. I love that it’s long; I love that it’s diverse, I love that it’s perfectly coordinated and yes I also love that it is pretty much the same always. The parade is bit like the wedding season… sure the colours may change a bit, it may take 10 hours instead of 9.5 one year, the music might get a tad livelier, but at the end of the day, you know what to expect. There will be slim missiles, huge fat tanks, some dancing, some floating and eventually the police will show up. here are a few of my favorite things:
- I love the floats, but let’s not forget that they are supposed to be a true representation of the respective state, so I sometimes secretly wish they were a little more in tune with youthful reality. I wish the Goa float had rave music and perhaps it could’nt drive in a straight line or maybe just showed up late because it was taking a nap. I wish the Kerala float, for once showed someone getting a massage; I wish the Hyderabad, Bangalore and Haryana float was about 30 sleepy kids on the phone talking to annoying foreigners; I wish the Gujarat float was a bunch of guys looking very sober; I wish the Mumbai float was stuck in the traffic and I wish the Delhi float had huge speakers and was trying to overtake the other floats on the wrong side.
- I must confess that I do like watching the tanks and the missiles go by. The reason I love watching them is because I realize how long it’s been since any of them were fired. Peace, it seems, is what I cherish the most about watching our entire arsenal go by. It’s like watching Sunny Deol walk down the street – he looks kind of chilled, but you never forget that he’s still got the 2.5 kilo hands.
- I love it when the Delhi police come by doing acrobatics on their bikes, but then again, I have seen couples on Reclamation Bridge in Mumbai and North Campus in Delhi accomplish far greater acrobatic feats on motorcycles. These ‘real roadies’ as I call them would make a great addition to the parade. Constable Paresh and Inspector Yadav are just entertaining as Roydon from Bandra and Fatema from Dadar.
- I also like watching the school children perform, and I like it when they perform to traditional music. This is one area in which I don’t want the parade to be an accurate representation. The thought of watching a platoon of 300 Indian children with American accents, European hair cuts, texting each other on Japanese cell-phones is a little too much for my patriotic sensibilities.
- I love the horses but can we do something about the poop please? I know they can’t help, I know they are sweet and majestic animals, I know it’s damn tough to ride them, but I also know that the Kathakali dancer coming up next is supposed to look a little more cheerful, her feet aren’t meant to stick to the floor, and under ideal conditions, she should be able to breathe!!
- I love the fact that we put the bravery award winners 30 feet above the ground on top of elephants and test their bravery a little more.
- I love when the Doordharshan cameras cut away to politicians and powerful people in VIP seats. It’s good to catch the leaders of our country freezing, napping, yawning, scratching, picking, burning, tanning, day-dreaming, gossiping or simply zoning, and in some very very very rare cases, grooving.
- I love the commentators on Doordarshan. Their mad excitement, advanced pitch modulation capacity and sheer dramatic skills make cricket commentators sound like opera singers.
- I love watching the foreign chief guest sit next to our President and Prime Minister, pretending to understand every aspect of the parade. They have never seen a country with so many colours and so much diversity, and it shows. The look on their face is usually the combination of a three-hour PhD lecture and an acid trip.
That’s why I love the republic day parade, it’s always the same, but so are the people who watch it on TV. It takes time, but it’s Indian Standard Time. It takes up your entire morning, but it’s a very very good morning.
Happy Republic Day!! Long live the republic!!!
(India will celebrate its 62nd Republic Day tomorrow – 26th January).