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14 Aug 2011

Oh, Is 15 August Independence Day or the other one.. kya naam hai.. Republicans Day?

The following are my opinions alone and I'm no expert of any sort,  feel free to disagree but don't expect me to feel any differently unless you have indisputable proof otherwise.

Here I sit on the eve of my country’s 65th (?) Independence Day, preparing for a flag-hoisting and my sister’s book release and all I can think of is how cheap Airtel can get for charging for texts tomorrow.

Angrezon se toh aazaadi mil gayi par in cheapskates’ ke ab bhi ghulam hain.

Anyway, I was wondering what we have so much to celebrate and be proud about. Ok fine, chalo, granted that after ghor parishram and all, our freedom fighters dilaofied azaadi for our supposedly great nation, but wasn’t that, like, eons back?

I don’t get the point.

It’s not like we youngsters care about the Lokpal bill or how the Government is doing everything to prevent it from being passed (which itself makes the whole thing smell worse than a week-old-fish).

It’s not like we know who the newly-appointed naval chief is nor does it matter in our lives.

We don’t know what our national flower is or the national bird. Nor do we know that we even have a national animal. What difference does it make to us?

It’s not like we give a damn whether the Mumbai blasts (at least the most recent ones) have been solved. It’s always been easier to just blame Pakistan (mainly the Prez, who gives a blind bat’s backside what Pakistani people are like or how we almost became bhai-behens) and let it all blow over.

It’s not like we like wearing Khadi or eat desi-produce. *Puke*. We don’t mind shelling out three grand for a pair Levi’s or 500 bucks for a ‘bucket’ of chicken; they are obviously better and most certainly not down-market like Indian-made goods. Shresht kurtis, pani puris and golas toh out of question not to say unhygienic.

It not like forwards making fun of our country fellows is not funny. They are so damn funny, we send it to everyone we have ever known or met in the last decade.

It’s not like we are going to live here, in the slums and the dust and the dirt, without any air-conditioning (God forbid!) when we can live as second-rate citizens in the U.S or U.K or anywhere else in first class. So what if India needs the new technology and development that we come up with more than them. Everything is better there. Chicks, food, lifestyle, clothes, papers, schools, roads, offices, shopping… EVERYTHING.

And we’ll cheer Danny Boyle on when he highlights the worst part of our nation on an international platform and takes home Oscars for it. And we’ll also wait till Pookutty wins an Oscar to Google and find out who he is.

It’s not like we’d remember to pick up one piece of waste paper or used Pepsi can from near our feet to save India’s environment, the whole country is full of muck anyway. This one bit is not going to make any difference. We won’t turn off our taps when we brush our teeth, ‘cause we like the continuous flow of water down the drain. Besides, conservation is for tree-huggers.

It’s not like we disagree with NRI’s returning and complaining about forgetting how ‘Last-

Century’ India is, how we *still* don’t have health insurance.

Not like we love Afzal and Zalima and Stephen and Katy the same way we love Karthik and Aanchal. They will always be them.

Not like we care if our girls are beaten up in pubs, raped on trains and killed when they are just fetuses. As long as we can get away with our shortest pair of Lilou shorts and tightest pair of Reebok tees, we don’t care. We will get married gowns and forsake Kancheevarams’ and Benaras’. We’ll choose pencil skirts over half-saris. The first women speaker does not evoke even an iota of interest in us.

It’s not like we love our country, not like we’d do anything for it, not like it matters who calls India and Indians what names. It’s not like we vote to make things better. Not like our being the WC champions with the Indian Flag flying at the forefront (even before the Australian one) matters since they screwed the last game up. Not like we say ‘Saare jahaan se accha, Hindustan hamara’ and mean it. Not like we tear up with bristling pride or even stand every time we hear the Jana Gana Mana.  

We will live-in together, cheat on our spouses, breast-pump our milk for our children and make deep-cut blouses a way of life. Getting drunk and being stupid are awesome. Getting high on weed is even 'kewler'. Emulating Paris Hilton and Rihanna help us find who we are and kitty parties are more important than annual days.

We are proud of our State, its language, our homes, the rich history our family and ancestors have. We are proud of our friends, our dads, our lives and careers. We are proud of our nephew’s first steps, our promotion, our laptops and mobiles. What’s there to be proud of our nation.

So let’s not make a big fuss, pretend to be willing to die for our nation for one day in a year, eat sweets they give us after flag-hoisting in silence and go back to our Vampire Diaries and Grey’s Anatomy with our traps shut tight.

Let’s not fake-love India. She deserves much better. 
And happy Independence day to us.

P.S: I'm the one who sobbed from sheer emotion when the WC 11 stood in a line with their hands on their chests and lipped the national anthem. The one who picks up all the chest-pin-flags off the ground when 15 August celebrations are over. The one who never has voted till now for lack of will to vote for useless people. Life has made me cynical.

But I'll always be the one who does, and forever will, take great pride in being an Indian first and then a human being.