The two pomp-and-splendour days, January 26 and August 15, are preceded with tight security, traffic jams and diversions in Delhi. And every year, I am given an onerous task by the ‘very busy’ husband: find out the easiest way to reach office. Aided with the map provided by the Delhi Police, I trace the right route for the day, depending much more on my sixth sense, than on the map. This year was no different.
Enter the office, more harried faces. Enter the meeting room and a debate is on: do we need to show our military might on such a grand scale at the cost of urban chaos? Tough call, I chip in sagely.
On Wednesday (January 23) when the final dress rehearsal takes place on Rajpath, I get an answer. Expecting more chaos, I get dropped off near Rajpath and decide to walk to the office. The weather was perfect and a little bit of exercise is always welcome, I told myself.
I was stopped as I neared Rajpath, the ground zero of the celebrations. There were hundreds waiting for the dress rehearsal to end. But no grumbling, though we actually couldn’t even see the parade. “What time are you opening this?” I asked. “The parade is on, 10 more minutes,” a policeman said. As I waited, a cheer went up. I looked up to see three Air Force choppers flying in perfect symmetry. As we all admired the perfect rapport between the men and their machines, the fighter planes followed and ended the show with the lotus formation. Everyone cheered and clapped, some took photographs. The national anthem struck up and my heart swelled with pride.
Wish you a Happy Republic Day, a day in advance!