My Dear Patriotic Alter Ego,
I know you are as busy as I am. Busy with socials you don’t want to attend, busy with a job that you simply love, busy in keeping touch with friends who matter a lot and you want to meet more often than you do, busy with spending time with loving families and busy trying to find time for yourself. Yet I know, that when the Independence day is around, you are silently humming the songs that take you to the fond memories of this day. You travel back in time to when you watched re-telecasts of Border, singing out loudly, “Sandese Aate Hai” with Dad, crying when lives were lost and swelling with pride about the victory! I know your heart melts to the tunes of Lata Mangeshkar’s patriotic songs. I know for a fact that A.R.Rahman’s “Maa Tujhe Salaam” is still your favourite. I know, singing these on top of your voice is your way of wishing Happy Birthday to India.
I also know that you may not surface every time in my daily life, but you are there, deep within. You wake from your slumber whenever there are debates on our country, whenever there are verbal attacks and whenever you see communalism and filth spreading across. I know you die a thousand deaths when your country is being tainted as Rape Capital of the world. You hide yourself in shame when you see politicians fighting for a piece of authority over your motherland. I have seen you boiling with anger when you have read news about people invading and causing unrest at the borders. You curse aloud when you see innocent lives being lost due to greediness of a country which was once a part of you!
But today, on India’s Birthday, leaving aside the anger and hatred, I want to thank you for teaching me to respect and find positives amongst the troubled land. You imbibed this gratitude towards India in me which was further nurtured by my dad, a country lover! You know I will not be able to stop the crimes and rapes around, but you do not get demotivated. Instead, you want me to focus in those areas on which I can be useful. You want me to contribute a little bit, how much ever petty it is, for India. You taught me to start with trying not to litter on roads. I assure you, I am learning it and eventually developing a habit. Except for the sticky chocolate and ice cream wrappers which I am unable to hold for long. They test my patience sometimes, but I try my best to not throw them without a dustbin around! So much, for being true to you. But I know, in the end it will all be worth it!
You also tell me not to classify and generalize a person on the cast they belong. I am working hard on that too. I remember once you read and narrated a line to me, “If you love your God, try and be a good person first and a religious one later!” That had a great impact on me. There are times when I lose my cool and blame a certain caste for spreading terrorism across. But then, I realize it is not the caste but the people who are bad! I condemn their acts but try hard not to hate them. But, honestly, the biased human as I am, sometimes forget your words and let go of myself only to realize, the blame game does no good.
You taught me to take pride in the landscapes that the country is blessed with and also the rich cultural heritage we have. When pessimism gets to me, I often get disappointed when I think about how we are almost insufficient of maintaining these treasures and how we take them for granted. But I am also learning to feel blessed for the beauties bestowed upon us.
You said once, that patriotism is not about updating your profile pictures with the tricolor, its more about respecting your anthem even in movie theaters,by taking a break in between munching your popcorn when you hear it being played. Its more about loving the fellow Indian without noticing his color, caste and community.
You taught me this and a lot more. Thank you and always be there around. I do not mind if you surface rarely, but do not leave me ever! I may take time to learn but I am sure I will! Don’t give up on me. I love the country just as much as you do!!