As India marks its 68th Republic Day today, the Capital’s art and fashion fraternity remembers some of its fondest memories from the day. While for some, the day means celebrating with extended family at home, others have a long-standing tradition of watching the parade live at India Gate, a spectacular sight each year. As these celebs reminisced, some of the memories put a smile on our faces. So, read on to find out who got a “ringside seat” to the parade and who has seen it in action, for more than two decades.
Bird’s-Eye view of the parade
“I remember going to a friend’s rooftop in Chandni Chowk during school days, where I used to gorge on kachawris. Not many have the opportunity of a bird’s-eye view and a ringside seat. I hope the government recognises design and fashion and someday lets us make a tableau at the parade,” says Sunil Sethi, president, Fashion Design Council of India.
Memoirs of an army kid
“I was 10, when I first went to see the parade. As I grew up, I continued to go for Beating The Retreat. It has a special place in my heart since I am from an army household. I associate all the more with it, being an army kid. We still watch it at home. I want to take my daughter to watch the parade live,” says designer Namrata Joshipura.
Decades-long parade tradition
“For 22 years, I’ve watched the parade at India Gate. I used to live on Ashoka Road and we’d walk to the parade. During 1980s, when I used to work near ITO, I crossed the road while the parade was on...had I done that today, I would have been arrested! I was four, when I saw the parade with my father and sat on his shoulders,” says artist Alka Raghuvanshi.
“We used to stay at home and my father used to make a special day out of it. I remember the family watching the parade on TV. My father is from the army, so as kids, we used to be excited about the day, especially to watch the army and air force contingent at the parade,” says model Lakshmi Rana.
Yet to watch the parade live
“Watching the parade is on my bucket list. It’s a calling; I guess I’m not ready and must earn it! Some of my family members are from the air force and the army, so it’s an important day for me. My uncles would tell us stories related to the day. That’s why, there is India in our clothes. The forces have truly inspired us,” says designer Nikhil Mehra.
A feeling of exhilaration
“There was a sense of pride whenever I used to watch the parade on TV. I went to see the parade once, and it was amazing. There was a feeling of exhilaration. Everyone’s gathered and there is a sense of celebration. I’m proud to be Indian. The regalia and the glory of R-Day is something I want to see again. It’s the most spectacular parade,” says artist Ina Puri.
The man and the machine
“My school was on Barakhamba Road, and coming from North Delhi, I used to see a parade of horses. The sight of beautiful brown horses practising on cold mornings is something I remember. Watching the parade on TV is a ritual in the house. I’m fond of missiles, machines and aircraft,” says designer Gaurav Khanijo.
A time for picnics and flying kites
“I used to live on Malcha Marg, and though, never went to watch the parade, did a lot of other things, like picnics, flag hoisting and kite flying. Beating The Retreat was something we used to go for. Sometimes, I used to be in Connaught Place at my grandfather’s restaurant. I used to go up the terrace to see what was going on. We also used to drive around India Gate and Raisna Hill in the evening,” says fashion choreographer Aparna Bahl.