- By Deepa Krishnan
Many traditions change, but one of the things you can count on is the unchanging nature of independence day celebrations at school. There's always a flag hoisting, of course. There are kids doing parades. There is a band. There are patriotic songs. There are speeches. In my school there is a prize distribution ceremony and an entertainment programme as well.
My aunt was the chief guest for this year's celebrations, so I went for the flag-hoisting ceremony. I got there early, and found the Road Safety Patrol kids lined up in front of the school.
Here they are, boys and girls, their drill teacher is giving them the final instructions. There is some joking and kidding around. Because this is the monsoon season, they don't wear regulation socks and shoes. Instead they are allowed to wear black monsoon sandals.
After some trial runs, things started to move smartly along with some marching. I was reminded of the time that I did this kind of left-right-left-right thing :) In my time the PT uniform was white skirt and white shirt.
I walked into the school and spotted the board announcing the day's program. The coloured chalk hadn't changed :) even though the board now had a printed header.
After the flag hoisting, we all sang Jana-Gana-Mana. In keeping with tradition, there were the usual group of musically inclined kids to also sing Jhanda-uncha-rahe-hamara. And of course, because this school is in a South Indian area, with mostly South Indian kids, some of them were in the usual Bharatanatyam costume :-)
Here's the flag, flying in the breeze. As usual, the patriotic songs brought tears to my eyes. I found myself choked and unable to join in the singing. As a kid I never experienced this kind of emotion, but as an adult, I find this happening to me all the time. Maybe I value independence more now, maybe I am aware of history more now - or maybe I am just more hormonal now :-)
After the flag-hoisting, we all trooped back inside, this time accompanied by the school band playing music and marching. That's my aunt Radha, with the grey hair and glasses, behind the kid with the baton. She does some great work, using specific theatre techniques for social change.
This is the school hall, where the annual day celebrations take place. Students and parents and teachers were finding places to sit, waiting for the ceremony to begin. There would be the usual welcome address, then the prize distribution, then speeches, and of course, the kids would put on an entertainment programme with dance and music and drama.
There were several children in make-up waiting backstage for their turn to perform. I've done that so many times! I was always in some dance or drama or the other!!