Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Independence Day Celebrations and Hangover

Wishing all Indians a very happy Independence Day, and, belatedly, all Pakistanis a very happy Independence Day.

I have had very fond memories of Aug 15 celebrations all my life; of getting together at our society for flag hoisting; of listening to PM speeches; of listening to some great patriotic songs (which I am doing today too from a special Patriotic Songs CD I had burnt some time back); of distributing sweets; of flying kites in Delhi (from the roof top with Pepsi and some songs playing); debating the future of this country with friends like Tarun, Sujay and Amit Ahuja; and so on.

But as far a memories go, the IITK celebrations takes the cake. I happened to be at Hall 4 at IITK, where I was the President also. Our manager, NarainDa used to arrange for the Flag Hoisting and sweets. Early morning, a small sleepy bunch of students used to gather to celebrate and our Wardens, Prof Gupta, Prof Biswas and Prof Eswaran used to get together for the hoisting. Prof Eswaran even gave a great speech in 2003. I distinctly recall being a part of all 4 days (2 IDays and 2 R-Days) for the celebrations and thoroughly enjoying it. I even recall my friend Ritesh Gulabani also being there every time.

But as much as I loved the morning part of the celebrations, lunch onwards, the hangover would kick in. Which hangover am I talking about? the one after some alcohol? no way. It is I-Day, dry day and I am damn serious about celebrating it in the right spirit (pun intended). The hangover was the food hangover. Because of 15-Aug being a mandatory off, the mess would close off from lunch onwards. So, you were left to eat at the Ashok's Canteen. The overworked canteen could not serve you dinner in anything short of 1 hour after ordering. And the usually relaxing lawn outside the canteen used to seem like an overcrowded place.

Eventually, you ended up having a dinner somehow, caught some sleep, started next day, had lunch and came back in the evening for the regular cup of tea. And thats when you caught the second half of the IDay hangover. The overworked canteen staff would catch an off the day after and you were then left looking out for the strong cup of hot-hot tea you were so used to.

Of all things I will celebrate on this I-day, I want to pay my tributes to both the Mess and the Canteen staff for working so well to make sure that our stomachs were fill, I Day or not. Kudos to them.

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