Growing up I was never interested in sports or dance. For that matter, I didn’t take part in any extra-curricular activities except for singing or something that involved arts & crafts. So it came as a shock to my mom when I told her that I joined march-past for republic day celebrations at school. She must have thought that I would give up in a couple of days but again ended up surprising her. I was in standard 7 then. I was tall for my age and got my spot at the second last row. The practice usually started a month in advance and our PT miss was super strict. Soon, I earned my spot at the second row from the second last. For someone who never had any physical activity, most of the day would be spent in scorching hot sun practicing march-past. And I thoroughly enjoyed it too.
As we lived in a defense community, we used to have grand celebrations for both Republic day and Independence Day. A total of 5 schools would take part in the march-past along with the NCC and police training troops. A week before the event, we would begin practicing in the stadium with the official band. With free breakfast and spectators around us, it used to be so much fun. On the D-day, each one of us would be dressed in our best white uniforms and assemble at the stadium as early as 6 in the morning. The event started with our march-past and the pride on our face, standing still for the national anthem, walking past the national flag, saluting the chief guest knew no bounds. Every year a contingent would be named as the best and awarded with the shield. I took part in the march-past for 3 consecutive years and our girls’ contingent won it in the last year. I still have that picture and it never fails to put a smile on my face.
Watching the republic day parade on the television now, I am reminiscing the good old times 🙂 Republic and Independence day meant more than sitting at home watching tv. How times change!