The places where moments reside

Jaipur diaries: The republic day which created history

"Jaanta to hamesha tha magar pata nahin kyun maine pehle kabhi is tarah socha nahin tha ki main hindustaani hoon. I am an Indian.” – Hrithik roshan , Lakshya.

This feeling dawns on you on only 2 occassions – either you don the olive green uniform ( white or sky blue as the case may be) or be within the vicinity of the tricolour. Raise your head, see the flag fluttering and you realise the power and magic of this piece of cloth coloured in saffron, white, navy blue and green. Numerous bravehearts have given their lives to safeguard the honour of this flag.

People say that sometimes somethings just start from somewhere and things just happen. My hostel 4/107 was famous for being just different. We had 8 people with 8 different personalities living under one roof. Our unanimous decisions were final. They never changed. I still remember vividly that it was a Sunday on the 25th of January 2009. Ajay(singh), Prashant(lal), Me (Shwetabh) and Charan (Ratish) were sitting in my room. In between some talks, ajay came up with a line, “Kal jhandaa fehraate hain hostel mein”. All of us looked at each other and although neither of us spoke anything, our eyes conveyed that one word which our heart was speaking loudly- YES…. Deep down inside I thanked Bobby Jindal for making the dream possible for every Indian to hoist the flag. Just to let everyone know what we were planning , ajay went to Bengali (Ritwik) , yogesh and Taufeez bhai to let them know that it was going to be done.

I was damn pleased to be a part of history and do something which never had been done in the history of the hostels of IRM. We would be the Trendsetters, something which no one had thought before and done. The excitement or patriotism as I should put as the most appropriate word was sky high. We knew we had to do it. There was no backing off. A rough draft was planned for the next morning – hoist the flag on the terrace, dress up and then go to the flag hoisting at the institute. Our flag had the priority. Our hostel was meticulous and a bit tight when it came to contri , but surprisingly for this one thing we surely had no limits on our wallets and we didn`t mind spending. Like in reality , there is a difference between drawing board planning and final execution. When the initial euphoria simmered down a bit, I realized that things might have to be aborted a bit because of the general lazy attitude of my hostelmates. I knew that talking and taking a consensus would be something that would take time. The best way was to just do that. I just took out my phone and called up my cousin sister and asked her about the nearest Khaadi Bhawan, the only authorized govt. outlet to sell the tricolour.

The location which she told me was in the main city market, some 20-25 kms from my hostel although I knew that I had seen a khaadi bhawan nearby , some 5-7 kms from my hostel when I used to come by bus from my relatives house. Another fear was that it being a Sunday , it might be closed. Carrying a prayer on my lips I called up Prashant and told him straight , “ Lets go and get the flag, now that my mind is made up about the ceremony, I would not back off and would surely give you the curses of your lives if the others do that.” He grabbed the bike keys , I hopped on to the pillon and made an announcement to the hostelmates , “ Hum jhanda le kar hi wapas aayenge”. We started off amidst the shouts of “Vande mataram” from ajay and charan shouting from behind. The size of the flag might prove to be an issue but we thought that we would see that once we reach the store. Much to the joy of us both, the nearest Khaadi bhawan was open. The next burning question, “ Kahin khatam to nahin ho gaya??”. With republic day the next morning we were not the only ones seeking flags. We entered the shop as if it was a temple or a shrine, with high hopes. The moment the shopkeeper said “ We have the stock”, both prashant and me just smiled to each other.

Confused about the size, we asked him to show us the 3 immediate sizes stating that it was to be hoisted at the terrace, lest it should give him the idea about the size we were looking. Choosing the medium size we left the shop and began looking the next big requirement- the pole for the flag. We decided that the best place for this would be a hardware store where we might find the pole of a suitable length. We found a hardware store in the main market near our institute. With no idea whether we wanted a plastic one or a bamboo, I went up to the shop keeper and asked him to give us a pole . When he heard that the purpose was for hoisting a flag, he showed us a bamboo pole which was just perfect, and he didn’t charge a penny…. Next stop – a general store to buy some Roli for the teeka for the next morning. While I waited for prashant near the bike while he made the purchase, holding the bamboo and the flag , I noticed some known faces of girls approaching me. When they came near then did I realize that it was Nandita and her hostelmates. Seeing me cluthing the pole, the obvious question was “whats happening?” and I felt proud when I told them, “that’s the flag and its gonna be hoisted tomorrow at our hostel”. Wishing me luck, they went away. When prashant came back an idea just came into my mind and I just blurted out , “Lets make some arrangements for sweets”. We had a sweet shop in the main market and we had to request, even bribe the shop owner to prepare fresh sweets and give it to us specially 7.30 the next morning considering the market opened at around 9 in the morning. 

Mission accomplished. We drove off back to the hostel considering all that we had achieved in these 2.30 hours. Plus it was about time for our 5 p.m. daily cricket match at the hostel. We reached the hostel with huge grins on our faces and shouted , “Mil gaya…….”. Both Bengali and charan came rushing out from the room and they were all smiles. My and prashant`s work of getting all necessary things was done and it was left to the rest of the team to deliver now. Charam found out some spare metallic J hooks which would hold the pole in place. 4 of us – Me, prashant, charan and Bengali came up the terrace and started scouting the perfect place for the flag. We decided a side wall would be great. Once we tried out the preparation, all hoped for the next morning. Later on that night prashant dug out his mp3 collection and took out all patriotic songs he had. Even I had decided the dress code for that day. An orange t shirt, bottle green pants, topped with a blue denim jeans – the colour combo of the tricolor. I knew that I would be questioned at the insti the next day , it was all left for the next day. We all played our match with an increased rigour. The next morning I woke up without the need for an alarm. Much earlier by our “holiday” standards – 7 a.m. I started getting ready and in the meanwhile jolted all of them awake- “Utho be, time ho gaya hai. Chalo taiayaar hona shuru karo”. 

Had it been any other day I would had been subject to angry glares but not this time. We all got ready by 9 and in the meanwhile prashant went and got the “sweet” delivery. The real shock came 15 minutes later on when we had our neighbours dropping by – the hostel wallahs of 4/191. Sanjay and his hostel showing up. They all had come for the flag hoisting. Later on I came to know that quite a few of the hostels had decided that they would all come to our hostel , attend the ceremony and then proceed to the institute. 

Wanting to treasure the moment I setup the recording of the ceremony on my laptop capturing as much as possible and informed ritwik that he should be mindful so as to not obstruct the view the webcam. The teeka happened to everyone coming for the ceremony. A few moments later, all of them joined in the mood. Nirmal and prashant began setting up the playlist just like sound technicians do at the wedding. In the meantime all the others started posing with the flag.

Amit showed up followed by Madhukar and Nitesh. Our neighbours started watching the proceedings with awe- so many people at a single hostel, songs playing in the background, they knew something was up for the first time as we rarely had such a huge gathering. The songs were an awesome lot.. We used up quite a few-

Desh mere desh mere from the legend of bhagat singh to start off the proceedings

Zindagi maut na ban jaye from sarfarosh

Nanha munna rahi hoon

Maa tujhe salaam and a host of others…

After the national anthem we ended on a high cry of “Bharat maata ki jai” on the top of our lungs , ready to prove to the neighbourhood that we had an awesome ceremony. Glancing at the watches, we rushed on the bikes to the institute ready to attend another one. By the time we got there it was all underway but we didn’t care as our private small gathering was much good than this grand function. When it all ended, I was asked a simple question by a faculty “ Shwetabh, your dress”…and I was ready with a answer, “ My clothes resemble the colours of the flag and nobody should have problems with the flag…I wear the love for the nation up my sleeve, Jai Hind”…. The faculty knew that it was impossible to argue with me on some issues.

The day of 26 january 2009 went down in history. Ours was and is probably the only hostel to have a flag hoisting ceremony. It was an initiative of 107 and we did it. Everyone had their bit in contributing to the history….Me, prashant, ajay, ritwik, charan, yogesh, taufeez bhai and the people who attended it with the same zeal and enthusiasm as we had planned the whole thing- sanjay and his hostelmates, amit, madhukar, nitesh. It was a proud moment for all those who attended it. Those preparations , shopping of the previous day, the proceedings of the next morning and those valuable 16 mins captured in a video film….all. Word spread like wildfire to the other hostels who could not attend the ceremony that we had accomplished something. The flag was removed properly before sunset in accordance with the respect it deserved. The flag is with Prashant all these years. Its an exclusive property of us and would keep on circulating between us – till eternity. The video film remains with me in multiple locations in my pc , laptop so I may never loose sight of it. Due to some technical problems it would never be published.

Who said that only defence personnel understood the meaning of the flag?? Ask us and we`ll tell you in your own way..JAI HIND…..
Jaipur diaries: The republic day which created history Jaipur diaries: The republic day which created history Reviewed by Shwetabh on 12:16:00 AM Rating: 5

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