I am not very patriotic to say. I love my country for sure. I have profound respect for innumerable things about it. But I don’t understand how a person born few thousand kilometres away becomes my enemy even in cricket. Anyway, coming to the point I actually miss the celebrations I had in school/college days. I remember dressing up in white, a paper flag neatly pinned to my pocket. I was in the band and ever year we sing "Thaayin manikodi” and” Jana gana mana" before and after the flag hoisting. And during my second year in Vivekananda college our band sang ARR’s”Thamizha thamiza" from Roja. That day early morning, I cycled my way from home in sterling to college in Mylapore.
On the way, I noticed the MRF show room (The iconic building which has a rotating MRF logo on the roof) completely blanketed by our national flag. Who said size doesn’t matter? The huge flag with bright crimson, green and white got my entire attention. I kept cycling while my head still glued to the flag. I came to sudden halt with shock. I have actually bumped onto a jeep parked by the side of the road. Not a normal one, but the Police Jeep (yea, with capital P and capital J). I must have woken up the constable behind the news paper. He started scolding in our intricate sundara Chennai slang. He blamed me for not concentrating on my job! He questioned whether I was drunk, and added that I won’t get paid if I were careless. I started cycling faster, scared and confused by the remark. I neither stopped to think nor looked back until I hit the college cycle stand.
While I was locking the cycle, I felt a blow on my shoulder. I screamed aloud and jumped. My voice echoed in the deserted corridor. That was my close friend who came to see me singing (yea people choose their own fate!). "Hey you look like a vannan (dry cleaner)" he smiled tapping the big bag of dhotis which I brought for singers of the band. Like a person who took the first fall of roller coaster my expression changed from fear to laughter in nanoseconds. A bag full of dhotis at the rear end and being dressed in one must have made me look like a worker to the constable!
The event kept playing on my head and I was warned couple of times for giggling during the rehearsals. I bit my tongue and starred at oily head of a singer in the front row. As weird as it seems, it actually helped me from laughing on the stage. We finished the Roja song, and vande mataram with decent applause and a whistle (must be the fate chooser).
A couple of boring speeches and flag hoisting followed. It was then time to sing the final song, National Anthem. I started singing and randomly eyed the audience. I spotted my friend with wicked smile. He winked at me and mimicked "a drycleaner beating the cloth” action. I bent down immediately, with a hand on my mouth like I am going to throw up and start laughing uncontrollably. One down on the second row the group photo then would have looked like mouth with a missing tooth!
p.s: Happy Raksha Bandhan to everyone :)