It was Republic Day. The school was abuzz with activity. Students of the higher classes had taken to turning the playground into the drill square and boy, had they done a good job! With Rangolis drawn delicately near the entrances to the red carpet carefully laid across the square for the chief guest to walk on. The School Pupil Leader, parade commander-in-chief for the day standing in front of the dais in wait of the chief guest’s arrival. The class contingents stood on their designated positions, their faces solemn with the fervor of patriotism largely writ.
“PARADE RIGHT TURN! COMMANDER TAKE POSITION!” said the School Pupil Leader in his imperious voice.
The first drum-beat. The commanders of the individual contingents took their positions in front of their parties.
“PARADE STANDING MARCH!”
The drums began the beat, the bugles following with the participants moving their feet in tandem. The Captain of the leading Scouts and Guides contingent gave his command to which all of his party began marching in perfect harmony.
“Left-Right-Left…” went the timekeeper obviously proud of being given the responsibility.
Following them were the class contingents. Class X was next, followed by Class IX and so on…
Soon the L turned to a U and all eyes were fixated on the tiny tots marching at the tail end of the parade. Nothing was lacking in the enthusiasm they showed albeit their steps mismatching a tad too much. The contingent commander was his own man. He couldn’t care less of how far behind his party was or how slow the drum-beat going. He was dancing to his own tune. Or rather marching to his own beat.
I stood on the corridor outside my classroom watching the parade. I wasn’t part of it. I don’t know how I felt… My best friend was leading the first ever 4th class contingent to take part in the parade revising the standard norm and I was watching on the sidelines forcing a smile as I did.
January 26th, 2016
It was Republic Day. The university glad to have a working day off, slept in peacefully save a few from the School of Health Sciences organizing the RD parade. The students were tasked with making arrangements to turn the cultural grounds into a drill square and like always, it looked impressive… With flags and banners adorning the amphitheater and shady tents built for the faculty to sit. The Sub-Inspector of City Police standing in front of the dais in wait of the chief guest’s arrival. The university contingents from different schools stood on their designated positions their faces void of emotion and hearts filled with pride.
The Emcee began her well-rehearsed speech and the onlookers clapped involuntarily. The chief guest arrived and was escorted through and the around the drill contingents on a specially decorated buggy for the inspection. He walked then, to the dais with the guard of honor. The parade stood straight and stiff. Like towering skyscrapers short of touching the sky. The chief guest returned the commanders’ salute. The flag was hoisted and the National Anthem sung. The parade was about to begin.
“PARADE TEENO-TEEN ME DAINE MUD! COMMANDER TAKE POSITION!” in a voice amplified manifold by a humongous speaker system.
The first beat. The commanders of the individual contingents marched to their positions in front of their platoons.
“PARADE KADAM TAAL!”
The drums began the beat, the bugles following with the participants moving their feet in tandem. The Commander of the leading National Cadet Corps contingent gave his command to which all of his party began marching, synchronous to the beat and to their steps.
“Ek-Do-Ek…” went the timekeeper his voice somber, in a practiced pitch and pace.
Following them were the other contingents. School of Communication was the next, followed by School of Management and so on…
I was there. Watching all that was going on in front of me. In probably what can aptly be termed a state of suspended animation? All that going in and around me felt like a figment of my own imagination. Like bits and pieces of a dream. All this has happened before and yet has not. I was no Shakespeare but I smiled at the prospect of me thinking poetry. The parade commander’s voice brought me back from not-so-deep contemplation.
NO. 1 PLATOON. NCC LEADING, PARADE COMMANDER TAKE CHARGE!
My eyelids opened as a sweat trickled down my forehead. A well-rehearsed, involuntary voice made its way through my gullet and I in and swift move turned my head to the right.
“PARADE DAINE DEKH!”
Pic Credits: Fotuwaala Rohan Agarwal