Independence Day, Remembered..

It's that time of the year when I wake up and find the dorm chummy walk into the room with a laddoo in his hand. Before you brace yourself, his geeky face that otherwise has a permanent creepy smile on it, opens up to shout a 'Vande Mataram!' (a senseless 'Inquilab Zindabad!' if he's a communist) on your unsuspecting face. You turn the other way around and try to go back to sleep again. What's the point? You don't get any laddoos now anyway!

Happy Independence Day guys. Yes, today's the day you get those 'Mere des ki dharti sona ugle, ugle heere-moti' feels. Are you done posting your patriotic update on Facebook yet? Go on now, don't let me delay you. Do it and come back to read me.

Independence Day has only one memory for me. Okay, two.
Stew and Silver Linings.


It had rained the previous night, so the grounds were water-logged. I wondered, as we walked into the mess, of what will happen to the parade if the grounds were too wet to do it. Maybe now they'll use the concrete road in front of the auditorium as a replacement. All these thoughts, views and concerns were to evaporate however, as I see the breakfast menu at the mess.

"Stew?" I asked the mess manager, defiantly.
"Yes, stew.. put forward your plate and pass on quickly!"
"I'm not eating that.." I stomped my foot.

Suddenly, the wind stopped blowing, the birds stopped chirping, some grandma stopped breathing and everyone in the mess turned around to look at me. I was really loud. Everyone hated stew but nobody had dared to say anything about it before. 'Suddenly out of nowhere, that demure lonely child has spoken up and how' they must've thought. And why not? I was in the mood for those Independence Day 'feels'. And the fact that the wardens were all out inspecting the grounds helped immensely. Suddenly, everyone was draining their plates into the bins. Enough was enough. It was revolution time!

As I walked out of the mess, I pulled my military beret out of the shoulder straps of the Air-wing uniform and donned it gracefully on my head. I was John Rambo. 'I keel bad peeeeople' stuff.


The governor of the state of West Bengal couldn't have chosen a more wrong time to be fashionably late. There I was all dressed up in flawless NCC uniform and shiny shoes, trying to look around without turning my head, and smiling at my proud (and amused) parents who were in the gallery up front. After waiting for the governor for about an hour, we were asked by our platoon commander to relax from waist-up.

Thankfully, I looked up at the sky. The rain clouds had not yet cleared completely from the sky. But it was still mostly sunny. I've always had a wild imagination, so I could make out various shapes in the sky. There was an octopus, a balloon, and an AK-47 among them. Like I mentioned, wild.

And then I noticed among them, a bright and contrasting 'silver lining'.

A 'silver lining' is a sign of hope in an unfortunate or gloomy situation - a bright prospect - 'every cloud has a silver lining' so they say. What was this silver lining all about? Was I unhappy? But I seemed pretty incredible in my current predicament. Heck, I blasted the mess manager that morning with all my military gusto! No, I was fine. I ignored the silver lining for a while.

Then the ray of sunshine hit me and I was carried 11 years in to the future, where I was sitting in my living room with a 'firang' roommate, far away from my country, family, girlfriend and friends. I had a wine glass in my hand, watching Big Bang Theory marathon for hours, but only after an hour of playing on XBox against each other when she gets tired and opens up a bottle of sherry and a chick flick on one of the On-Demand channels on the TV. I tell her, "You know it's the Indian Independence Day today.." to which she, an American, replies "Oh wow! So do you guys party on this day?" I smile and nod.

It would be hard to explain to her all those loudspeakers blaring patriotic songs at unreasonable hours, trying to push into our heads the tenets of patriotism and devotion to one's own country all this while.

Lost in thought, I'm jolted back again to the part of my boyhood where I was standing amongst cadets, donning the military colours proudly. Only this time I wasn't standing. I was being carried on a stretcher, pulled away by a couple of bloodied hands. I could hear my mother's cries from a little further away and my father's anxious and scared voice from nearby. That managed to scare me as well. I tried to call out to him, but couldn't. And then I realized, the blood was my own.

I had blacked out on an empty stomach and had bounced on my chin at the concrete. Bounced.

I broke my jaw, both the joints and my chin, broke all my teeth and had bitten off a bit of my tongue. I was probably going to die, I thought, as I vomited black coloured blood all throughout the day. I was unable to open my mouth for months. But that was before I got titanium replacements of my jaw. While the joints healed on their own, very little could be done about my teeth.

Not going into the gory art any further, because it's not a sad memory to be frank. Just a memory. A recollection of things that happened years ago. Heck, some of them are damn hilarious memories. Like the one where I walked my way into the operation theatre and the surgeon asked me if I was sure I was the patient. He realized his doubt soon when he noticed I couldn't open my mouth to talk! I remember how I got the nickname 'Ironman' at school before it was cool. I wonder why I did not have the information that the very material I had in my jaw, is used to make spacecrafts! That would've been an awesome thing to declare to the girls then.

Sadly, my lower lip could never recover. I cannot feel a woman's lips when I kiss. Sad for a person, who really likes to kiss and is apparently good at it. And suddenly I'm an Oscar winning Al Pacino from the 'Scent of a Woman'. Such feels. Such feels. These are the limited edition Independence Day special feels, perhaps. And the Sherry, of course.

Yes, it's definitely the wine. Blame it on the wine. Happy Independence Day.



  1. Ha ha ha ha..some memories you have, DC! :) The only memories I have of Independence day are the never ending History lessons from school. And being home on the 15th of August :P

    Welcome back to blogging! You have been missed ^_^

  2. There's a good chance that you'll miss me more in the future.. I will get busy, I will get lost in work.. but if I don't, you'll surely find me here! :)

  3. That was some memory, really the stew! you are a saviour to all the hostel dwellers. talking of nasty chins, I had a deep gash in my chin as a 3 year old. oit was ghastly, luckily my lower lip feels everything. keep blogging no matter how busy life gets

  4. I will try my best! Although hope seems bleak. :P And lucky are those whose lips feel! REALLY!

  5. I am missing you now.

  6. Now? Only now?! I've been missing you all along!