Sunday, August 14, 2016

No Smile(y), please ...

I just returned after attending the flag-hoisting (aka nationalism-foisting) ritual at the place where I work.
I was kind of watching the proceedings from the periphery, not exactly the vantage point for taking photographs. I am no good at estimating crowd size, but I may say about 500, as the upper limit. As I mentioned in my immediate preceding post, a large majority of this 500 was employees of the company (fulltime, part time, on probation, hourly wagers) as implicitly mandated by it. There was a smattering of people from the other stake-holder groups.
Without a camera I still scanned the crowd. And, I failed to spot even a single smiling face, even the chief guest looked like he was brought to the venue under duress.
A flag was duly hoisted, after NCC Cadets went through the motions of a march unsynchronized to the background score, “Saare Jahan se achcha ...”, by the chief guest who just happened to be the notionally second highest authority in the hierarchy of the enterprise. The mood was sombre, matching perfectly the type of celebration the day is marked for.
Just as the flag unfurled at the top of the flag post, many right hands, palm open outward went to the forehead. So, nationalism is alive, after all, in the company! We just ritually exhibited and confirmed it to ourselves. “All is well”, as the super-duper patriot Aamir Khan said in the film 3 Idiots.
But, note, there was still not a single smiling face.
“We are here to celebrate our Independence Day. How can we smile on this sombre occasion? One must be a fool to think as this is a celebration, we must feel happy, and smile. No. No. No.” I heard my inner voice blaring in my ear.
It is just as well, I did not bring my camera. There was no chance of capturing smile(y)s in this crowd.

Happy Independence Day :(
Raghuram Ekambaram

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