I have wanted to watch the Parade for years now. 2-3 years back I was asking everyone at my old office how I can go watch the parade and one of my colleagues told me his wife works in the army and he would have arranged for passes if only I had contacted him earlier. This year I sent him all the details few weeks in advance and he handed over the passes yesterday. KC and I were super excited.
We arrived in Delhi 45 mins ahead of the schedule and got stuck in traffic right outside the parking area. We had to park at Chanakyapuri and then board the bus for Janpath where the celebrations are held. I was carrying a sling bag but when I saw that none of the women were carrying purses I left it in the car. And then we saw a man rushing back because phones are not allowed inside. We, again, went to the car to leave our phones. By this time it was almost 9 am and we boarded the bus.
The show starts at 10 am and everyone is supposed to be inside the venue by 9.15 am. We arrived at 9.25 am and the gates had been closed. We were asked to enter from the general section. This was quite a bummer because there is no seating in the general section. But without losing optimism we headed inside wading our way through the muck that the rains had created. I went through the security check and was waiting for KC to enter. Guess what? He was not allowed inside because remote controlled car keys are not allowed in. Wow!!! The initial plan was to take a metro to Delhi but when my colleague- V assured me that there is parking available we had taken the car. And the thought that the car keys would not be allowed in did not even strike us. Ok, sure, there were boards around the venue mentioning it is not allowed inside BUT mobiles were being allowed even after the warning. And it was too late to do anything anyway. The sub inspector suggested we leave it with him. But this is Delhi and the cops are not to be trusted. We didn’t fear the car would be stolen but losing the key itself would cost us 6k.
So, we left. Yep, we decided to return home. Of course, it wasn’t as simple as that. All the roads around the venue are blocked and there are no autos/cabs. So, we walked… and walked… and walked… and walked… and walked in the drizzle…. on the opposite side. At Pragati Maidan we realized we had been walking away from Chanakyapuri instead of towards. And yet, it was a very pleasant walk. The weather was perfect with the mist… drizzle… broad, beautiful roads… green trees… no phones and just KC and me talking and walking. No, we were not cribbing. It’s ok. Shit happens. We decided to enjoy the moment. It’s not everyday that we take a walk in Central Delhi in the rains.
After a few tries, we found an auto guy who knew the way to Chanakyapuri, picked up the car and headed to Saket for brunch.
Life is not perfect. The best laid plans don’t work out. And it’s ok. There is still next year and the year after that and the year after that. We are not going anywhere. Attending Republic Day Celebrations is back on the bucket list.
The only thing am pissed about is that an acquaintance made a nasty comment on my fb post about how I would not get entry to the event. And it happened. Definitely staying from such negative people on social media. Thank god I don’t have to meet them in real life.
Has anyone noticed how negative we have become about our country? I am not saying it’s perfect… it never was. But we seem to have become more and more cynical. Nothing makes us happy. I have put up statuses on fb appreciating something about India and someone or the other will reply with negativity.
There are so many things we don’t have to deal with or so many ways in which life is so comfortable. Trust me, even West does not have access to some of these luxuries.
Just on the top of my head, here are few:
– A comfortable life where we all have house help- maids, cooks, car cleaners, drivers, nannies, live in maids etc etc etc
– When my sis was pregnant we were looking for names for the twin boys. Since she stays in USA she wanted something which was hep and easy to pronounce. But the major criteria was that the names should not sound ‘Muslim’ or ‘Arabic’. Because in US of A people don’t try to understand different cultures. They only discriminate basis their perception. Atleast in our country, there is no fear of such discrimination. I can give my kids a Muslim name without worrying about the bullying in school
– I visited NYC in 2008. My sis stayed in an apartment at Manhattan which was on the 20th/30th floor. Pretty grand. BUT we could never open the windows. Because even at that height the traffic noise was unbearable. So, be grateful if you can open your windows, smell fresh air, see trees and hear birds chirping. It is a luxury for some.
And these are just a few among many others.
People… let’s be proud of India. And if you are not, I would suggest you read ‘India After Gandhi’. We are the world’s largest democracy and that in itself is an achievement.