Saturday, August 15, 2009

Independence Day and Dad

My Dad, who was recently hospitalised for 4 days for heart problem was back home the day before. He was the one who started the Flag Hoisting ceremony in our society when we moved to Mira Road almost 6 years ago. Patriotic songs are played since morning followed by flag hoisting. This has grown over the years into recognition for children who pass their exams with flying colours. And recently even mini sports are held in our compound. The entire function ends with distribution of sweets and snacks. Now children look forward to Independence Day and Republic Day every year. Nowadays even the SP and/ or local political leaders come to our to preside over the small function. The percentage of Muslims in our society and area is on the higher side. But those who feel that Muslims are less patriotic than other Indians, our society / building should serve as an eye opener to them.

Though this has been happening all the while, what especially made me recall and narrate about the Flag Hoisting ceremony has it's own significance. The society members give a lot of respect to my Dad as he's an ex -RBI AGM and helps a lot in organising the entire event. This is replete with his speech and announcements and encouraging words to children interspersed with his own little shairi and poems (which he's started writing after retirement). This year too Dad was approached for his suggestions and help. Obviously he was to do the announcements too. But last Monday we took him to the hospital and he was admitted for almost 4 days. He's been advised less exertion. Today, he got ready for the function which is held in our building compound. The arrangements this year were done while he was in hospital and later, resting at home. He put on the tricolour badge and went straight down. We advised him not to exert himself too much. He proudly announced, 'I am going for the kids'.

After a while, we heard his voice on the mike! 'Uh oh'!, I said to myself, 'Who can keep Dad away from the mike, especially on such a social occasion?'. I called my Mom, who was already on her way downstairs. 'Yes', she said. 'I know'. There was pride and happiness in her voice. My brother went down to take pictures. Because Dad likes pictures of all important events on record. My youngest brother had almost reached home from Pune for the weekend. I told him Dad was announcing yet again! He waited and watched before coming upstairs. Dad was chatting with the SP, who was the chief guest for the event. Dad will be Dad. And to think that he was in hospital just two days before (including one day in ICU) and some relatives were still coming home to enquire about his health. Who will believe the same when they watch him thus?!

This takes me back to my childhood at RBI Quarters at Mumbai Central, where flag hoisting was always an event like this. The colony was vast and had a playground, a garden, a pvt Marathi school (has been replaced by a community hall now), a dispensary, a store and benches to relax. Those days the Marathi school students used to prepare some songs for the event. Patriotic songs used to be played since morning followed by flag hoisting. The event was mostly attended the top notch people in RBI. Having the Governer of RBI as the chief guest used to be an honour. It is on one such Independence Day that we also met Dr Manmohan Singh, who was the Governer then. A highly intelligent but quiet and humble person. He's still the same as he used to be. Power has not changed him, thankfully.

Then in the evenings, Dad used to take us to Flora Fountain, Churchgate station and Fort area to show the buildings illuminated for Independence Day. The spirit still continues.....


sk said...

Shagufta, I'm happy to hear that in spite of the health problems, your dad is still in high spirits. Your dad seems to be a very intellectual person, the kind of person which are becoming rare these days. I'm sure everybody must be enlightened by just talking to him.
I was just sitting down alone and feeling very nostalgic. After reading your description of the Independence Day celebration, I went back to my childhood days. I still remember how we used to do the overnight preparation for the flag hoisting in my colony. I really miss those days....And here I'm now, sitting far away from my country...longing for those days.

Shagufta said...

Uh, Oh! U can come down to India for a few days and spend time with your family. Which colony you stayed in ? Some govt quarters?
About my Dad- Yes, he's gr8!

sk said...

I often go to India to spend time with my family. This colony is in my hometown in the eastern part of India, where I have spent most my childhood days. But things are no longer the same out there. Sometimes I just wonder why. Maybe mostly because of the change in attitude of people.

sushant said...

hey nice article got really intrigued...hmm but one thin abt ur childhood memory like culd u elaborate more on dat fountain area thinge? any idea if it stil happens wuld like to be der next time(if it does)
me in love wid dat part of da city!!