'Merica, 4th of July and Sexy Eyes

And suddenly the mundane fourth day of July isn't as mundane as it used to be.

All these years around this time, I'd be sitting through this hot summer day wondering what else to do except finishing that painting I started but never completed, except that holiday homework of 'writing an incessant essay on the second war of Panipat' in at least 120 pages and except practicing for the gymnastic classes I had been coaxed into signing up for. Really, this day had no meaning for me when I was a kid. It was usually the beginning of a very long summer holiday. We'd be collecting our WWE trump cards and taking the neighborhood up by a storm as we'd ride on our bicycles (and/or tricycles) and race against each other to songs of 'Eye of the Tiger' and 'Final Countdown' right around this time.

So after 25 years of my existence, I fly to the other side of the world to get introduced to the relevance of this day (which is only to drink a hell lot of Budweiser). This is a country that doesn't have a name as such. It is only recognized by a description and an abbreviation. U.S.A. - The United States of America. Notice the article in the beginning, without which the whole system falls face down, citing poor grammatical presumptions! The United States of America.

And unless you've been living in a cave near Haridwar practicing solo yoga on the International Yoga Day, you would know that the Fourth of July is the Independence Day of The United States of America. About this day, John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers, had commented (to his wife and adviser Abigail): "This day ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

My friend Jason just added a few more lines to John Adam's rubric. Some of the appended directions include blowing up the mailbox by placing a large firecracker in it, tie the whistling rockets together and light them up in tandem, fire up Saturn missiles while pointing them towards the neighbor's party and grilling chicken till your stomach begs you to stop. All this, while listening to Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses.

I ate the other 3 British colonies, so now we only have 10 stripes. They were yummy!

I was thinking about the flag hoisting back home at the craziest hour early in the morning, the ghee-soaked ladoos (damn!) that we'll be provided with in tiny paper packets and the non-stoppable surge of patriotic (but mostly only from Bhagat Singh based Bollywood blockbusters - "Mera rang deeeeee-ee-eee-eee-eee-ee-ee-eeeee") songs over scarily loud speakers at every corner of the road. Although I missed it, it was not India's moment to have. Ours come on the 15th of August and although we don't blow up mailboxes, I certainly have the record of blowing my very jaw off - but let's not go there.

My girlfriend tells me how the fourth of July was only relevant to us for a while, within the lyrics of the Nirvana composition 'Lake of Fire'. Then we went on to reminisce the bygone days when listening to Nirvana was fad - Grunge giving way to youthful angst. While we still love Nirvana, she has moved on to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. My transition from Nirvana has however been way more dramatic than hers - I'm still strumming my guitar to the tunes of the recent Pixar short 'Lava' sung by Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Greig. The lyrics is so disgustingly saccharine, that it can really kill you. I like the strumming and the simple chord progression though. I mean, which guitarist doesn't like a whole song on D, C and G, eh?

Speaking of songs and fad (and to deliberately digress from the topic of the fourth of July - also, because I'm hungover from last night's party), anyone remember Aqua and Vengaboys and Britney Spears? HEY! Britney Spears is still relevant!

I will never forget one memory, back from when I was a kid and while it was still the glorious 90s. My dad had bought a new car - a bright and shiny red Maruti 800 - but unlike many others, he had installed a sound system in there, which was absolutely rad in those days. Except we soon had a problem. One of the many cassettes that we listen to while driving got stuck in there and we had to listen to it for a period of a little over a year. We really liked the assortment of all the songs we had in there, so we just let it be. Unfortunately, the 'liking' only began 3 songs later. We could fast forward them, but that was a function that the cassette player had lost by then.

So, my parents just let the 8 year old me listen to (and hum along with) Whigfield's 'Sexy Eyes', Vengaboys' 'Boom boom boom boom' and Aqua's 'Roses Are Red' before we could listen to Junoon's 'Sayonee' - and in the process, lose my innocence. Sigh.

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