Being asked to hoist the National flag is an honour; however blasé one pretends to be. Since I don’t try to be blasé anyway, I was very thrilled. I looked out for a saree in orange and green though my daughter said she didn’t see any connection actually since it was Children’s day. I said it was at least colorful.
The kids were even more colorful, many of them in their Deepavali best ready to perform dances. Most of the clothes had glittering zari on them, further embellished by gilded jewellery and bright lipstick.
One song was from Dhoom2, and the dance moves from TV, showing us what national integration is about.
There were lots of little boys yelling out their speeches loudly about Nehru, tree planting and whatever the teachers thought appropriate. In a village school, many of the children are not shy and are bursting to show their prowess. When the littlest boys were reciting, I could make out it was in English only because I couldn’t understand it at all.
But all of them pushed and shoved in an effort to come up close to me and wish me Good morning. It is something inborn in us to make our presence felt. A friend had been asking me why we always feel we have to say something in a crowd, why we have to make a remark, voice our opinion? We know it’s futile anyway and it’s not going to change anyone else’s stance. But still something makes us say something, anything so other people ‘see us’.
After a while, when the heat and the noise got too much, I wanted to go home. The games were going on by then, sack races, lime and spoon and obstacle races. I did feel rather guilty about breaking up the occasion a little. But I kind of justified it to myself saying actually, my presence didn’t make a difference.
We distributed the prizes- soap boxes, pens and pencils. The teachers had to deal with a lot of little ones clamoring for prizes too. How do they cope? We had tea and I came home with a feel of a morning well spent.