15th August VS 26th January – most kids would know the difference. Chances are that some of us “grown ups” won’t. Of course we know one is the day we got freedom  and the other when we became a republic. But that’s it. 60 years after, does it really matter if we know it or not?

“Our” great Republic of India. That’s a good feeling on the 26th morning – seeing our president hoist the national flag followed by the parade at Rajpath live on TV (or now live on the official website as well) along with your favorite cup of tea. The kids go into a frenzy seeing those Sukhois (or the MIGs – whatever) do all the crazy stuff in the sky. Lol – I remember dreaming to do so when I was kid and thought all I could and should become is a pilot only – and nothing else.

It’s holiday mood most of these days – 15th August, 26th January etc. – facebook, twitter, orkut – are neck deep with “I love my India” messages and phones are busy sending texts to plan the evening out.

The point is –  what’s the relevance today? Display of strength this year would not be much different from the last. Some brave army men and children would be awarded gallantry and bravery awards like always. “India will not tolerate cross border terrorism” propaganda – like always. Patriotic flicks on all movie channels – like always. Ironically, none of this helps in making our country see a better tomorrow.

It’s time to think beyond. We’re years ahead from 1950 but years behind from where we could have been.

Celebrating freedom or democracy should not only be about remembering the war heros that existed many decades ago or about the mighty show of strength year after year. It should also be about measuring the country and the individuals on how better or not they are than yesterday.

The subway is gaining ground in many cities, but so are the homeless. Corporate mantra is here to stay but corruption is taken for granted as well. Fitness centers are mushrooming like .. well mushrooms ! but so are hospitals. We have our share of baristas, TGIFs and multiplexes of the world where spending 2000 bucks at every visit is normal, but ironically that’s too much to pay your maid at home – for a month of hard labor.

Ain’t we developing as individuals or a as a nation in extremes?

Some introspection needed here I guess. I leave you with the below videos to compliment complement my thoughts (well thanks Rudrajit for keeping a fine eye and correcting me :) ). Wish all a very happy 61st republic day.. Anupam.

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