Being independent as a nation at 75is in itself a celebration galore where this August 15 made it rather unique in celebrating freedom. There were harrowing times for India where we witnessed our entire health infrastructure crumbling with the hunt for oxygen cylinders, ICU beds and medical supplies to beat the COVID beast. It was mayhem to see people losing lives in front of hospitals, a son dying at the hands of her mother, or parents breathing their last with cries of despair.
August 15, 2021, is the day we celebrate our Independence which is an emotional moment in the life of a nation and I choose to dedicate it to the people for power truly belong to the people. There was no mere symbolism. People cutting across ideological or political differences came together during the second wave checking and verifying leads for hospital beds or oxygen cylinders with volunteers on the ground, and Tweeting or sharing madly on social media. For once, Facebook and Twitter for long the epicenter of political shenanigans or war suddenly became this sane platform. It was a tough time where volunteers were exhausted mentally yet the job has to be done in ensuring help reaches the right people or to those in need.
It was a race against time. We were desperate to seek help for any lost life is a tragedy yet there were countless deaths. The second wave was something we abhorred yet we never imagined that our health infrastructure would be under duress and unable to cater with the flaring of Covid cases. Perhaps, as we celebrated our 75th Independence Day, it’s a question that we need to ask how as middle class or upper educated middle class we take things for granted yet truth is that we cannot blithely ignore the tribulations of those unable to access the basics. Health remains a necessity and should be an immediate priority where the Government and private must not only invest massively but ensures the benefits trickles to everyone, in particular, the migrant and rural poor.
The nation came together despite the mounting challenges couldn’t be a bigger example of patriotism where many good-intentioned citizens were cooking food for people who suddenly fell ill. There is Ronita who runs the Jikoni kitchen has been selflessly serving food to everyone in the city, right from hospital front liners to homeless every single day without fail. There were many like her serving people lacking the financial means and came together to stand tall for the country. Isn’t it what nation-building is and should be all about?
Our hearts will swell with pride someday when the whole scary COVID 19 virus is left behind us and perhaps shall serve a reminder at every strife in the country over politics, religion or caste how we came together as a nation beyond jingoism, politics or religion. It has always been our force as a country with values enshrined in the Indian constitution, Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. A tribute to every woman, man, children and the commoner, for that matter, binding us in a chain and turning into a powered engine to mightily face the disease and the casualties.
Many among us have lost family and friends which hit us hard. Yet, there is pride in looking at what we have achieved this year, a rich symbol of unity and coming together as a nation. While the mood might have been somber yet it makes for quite a unique celebratory mood.
For a nation swearing by cricket, acing seven medals at the Olympics game and gold is quite a rare feat. More significantly, the finale came one week before the celebration of Independence Day which makes it a rather unique victory to savor. Our triumph at the Olympics embodies several lessons. We shall not forget that the first few medals were won by Women from the North East who faces discrimination at every altar of life on an almost dialy occurrence. How we forget all insults celebrating the athletes as Indians and if this tells us something about unity, it couldn’t be the biggest example that there shouldn’t be regional divide, boundary and gender. It’s about time we smash all our caste regional, caste or patriarchal beliefs we hold on to and to reflect about our ingrained prejudices and no a woman role is not to bear children, feed us or be the perfect bharatiya nari.
The year truly belongs not to any politician or Government but the people of India, like rightly echoed in the definition of democracy which is of the people, by the people and for the people. Let’s honor the women and men of India for fearlessly straddling to make the country better to live and for whom, the dock of time shall never stop to strengthen our unity is what the Idea of India has and will always be. It cannot be a bigger example of secular India.
Friendship is intricately beautiful with the many layers embedded in relationships carved over the years and complexities making it sound near perfect. We strive for flawlessness in the way we approach relationships and heart beating for friends where longing for each other pinning that conflict is superseded by the strong bond which can lead at times to a sense of insecurity not to lose friends or praying that relationships don’t go wrong. We crave the bonding beyond time where it’s needless to say for some like me, friends from college are always precious.
I am a great believer in ties of friendship for it lends a sense of balance that perhaps blood tie doesn’t plug the gap and have always been closer to friends more than perhaps close relatives. There is innate strength in the friends made and connect on a deeper level the self-confessed sucker for human emotions that I am. Friends have stood thick and thin with me in a seamless manner defying time.
A regular call without fail with Adi every week separated by the seas n the Southern Hemisphere and speaking about everything under the sun is something we don’t religious miss. He will ping me mostly on Fridays and Saturdays as we reminisce about our college days. He was my best friend in the halcyon Pune days and for some reason or the other, we drifted apart owing to time but the struggle in making life happen. It’s only during the lockdown last year that we reconnected and since then, we don’t miss the telecom calls, offering each other the necessary support at a time when the pandemic has become a reality in our lives.
As much as we abhor the lockdown and virus, it brought us together and cementing the bond in reaffirming the belief that as human beings we need to make the small, tiny effort. If the lockdown taught us one thing is don’t think twice about reaching out to friends or your loved ones, be it family or anyone that matters.
There is something funny about friendship and the small anecdotes are what make us look fondly at friendships. One such tale happened in Goa with M. I self-invited myself to the wedding reception of M’s friend what with me having a digital camera and in the age of no smartphones, common sense taught that I should click her and us, not just the venue.
Much to M’s chagrin, I didn’t click her at all and obviously, it pissed her off, reminding on how upset she was with me. She didn’t flinch telling, “You know that I don’t have a camera and you didn’t even take my picture.”
I felt bad about how dumb I can be and insensitive. I am feeling bad right now. But, that’s how friendship is where close friends have every right to tell you the truth about their feelings. No filter friendship is what we should celebrate.
Friendship Day is always special where I hold memories inside my heart. We don’t need a Kodak moment for that. A friend from Pune, Chanda called on Sunday, and as unbelievable as it sounds, we had a video call or for that matter, saw each other’s faces after 10 years. It feels like yesterday only and we spoke as if there is no tomorrow, immediately added another friend from college on the call who was our senior, Ajitabh. Now, in those days I would add the prefix Bhaiya in front of his name. In college, he would joke telling me that because of me, most girls were calling him Bhaiya. Of course, Ajitabh reminded Chanda on his peculiar way of speaking in college when we were sitting for food, “Come, dig in.” Of course, we spoke as if there was no tomorrow and am amazed how Chanda knows me so well where despite the fact we were not in touch for a decade. He told me things about myself that I didn’t need to share with him. It’s incredible how friends understand each other to the hilt.
As corny as it sounds, don’t they say, “Hare ek friend zaroori hoti hai” and over the years, I made such good friends on the blogging sphere. Some of them are on my Whatsapp and while we may not speak to each other for long because of the drudgery life throws at us, we are here for each other. Esha is one such good friend where we connected on the blog at a time when content overrides everything and anything. So much for such genuine friends beyond hits or Instagram but swearing for the pure joy of writing.
One thing I would say honestly is that after making the best of friends and having the perfect time at Fergusson college in Pune that it was a hard time moving out of this phase so much that I pushed people away who wanted to be close to me. Now, right or wrong it’s not my place to assess but it can happen when you make the best of friends during a particular phase.
I am linking this Friendship Day post to Esha’s blog with a special, personalized theme in reaching out to and bonding with friends during these tough times where the pandemic is impacting several lives and taking a toll in terms of mental health. A free writing prompt every Sunday to encourage writing and removing the mind’s clutter every week.