Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Celebrating Independence Day in a foreign land

Found myself at the Indian High Commission on an early Sunday morning to celebrate the Independence Day. After getting out of school, August 15 meant little more than an annual holiday. Now being in a foreign land, I was compelled to be there at the Indian embassy to celebrate the day. May be I was compelled by a sense of duty to be there when the Tricolor was being unfurled. May be it was a need to justify to my country that I’m not a foreigner, to tell her that I still love you even though I am not with you right now. I don’t know what it was, but I am glad that I was there.

At the celebration, a bunch of school kids were performing to this song and then as is the way with things, they go wrong and all of a sudden, the music just stopped. The poor kids were in a fix, not knowing what to do. Then, something happened. There was this chorus from the audience, singing the song so melodiously and so in sync that it sounded like a practiced performance. The kids then continued to dance as the chorus sang on till they set the audio right.

Had a depressing discussion with a friend about what India doesn’t have and what we have that we should be really proud of. Of course, we argued on a few things but what we agreed upon without a doubt was Indian music and how music binds us all together, in one way or another. I think it’s in our blood.

In the evening, I went to this concert by Shreya Ghoshal. She’s a popular playback singer who made it big recently. She sang quite a few popular hindi numbers and then sang a Bengali song. Though probably 80% of the audience didn’t understand Bengali, they still enjoyed the music, applauded and encouraged her through the song. This can happen only in India, the acceptance to other languages and cultures. We enjoy music in any form, language no bar. Music does bind us all together.

And in the end, when she suddenly burst into the national anthem, the response of the audience was almost synchronized; every single person rose without a moment’s hesitation and sang along. I know it is what we are supposed to do but it was a feeling I cannot begin to describe. For a moment, it was as if we all knew each other. It was a sense of pride, a sense of belonging.


shub said...

I can imagine what you felt in both the incidents you mentioned. I got goosepimples reading it! :)

Maya said...

@shub: My sentiments exactly! :)