An overcast sky and occasional drizzle initially created apprehensions that it may dampen the Independence Day celebrations at the majestic Red Fort in New Delhi where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unfurled the tri-colour on Friday.
Security personnel at the VIP enclosure at the 17th century Mughal monument were seen rushing with raincoats and umbrellas to the dignitaries as it started drizzling just before Singh began his address to the nation.
While Congress chief Sonia Gandhi declined to take a raincoat, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee who was seated next to her was seen checking out a raincoat. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad was seen testing an umbrella.
The drizzle also made veteran Doordarshan commentator Jasdeep Singh note that while all welcome showers at any time, people wish that it should not rain during Independence Day function because it was an event of national importance.
A large number of school children wearing saffron, white and green uniforms were made to sit in a formation of the triclour with Ashoka Chakra at the centre.
The Prime Minister, attired in his trade-mark blue turban and a brown Nehru jacket, arrived at the Lahore Gate of the monument at 7:25 am in a 11-vehicle carcade.
A rapturous applause by the children and fanfare by the inter-services band welcomed Singh, who arrived in a gleaming black BMW after paying homage to national leaders at their memorials on the banks of river Yamuna.
The crowd applauded the Prime Minister on 18 occasions throughout his speech, nine times less than during last year's address.