Thursday, August 14, 2008

The un-encashed freedom cheque!

Yet another Independence Day approaches. We had a colorful celebration in the office today with competitions like, 'My Pod’ which is a euphemism for 'most distastefully decorated cubicle". People showed how (un)creative they were by decorating their work stations with trillions of tricolor Indian flags in varying degrees of slants, from 10 degree to some really acute and obtuse angled slants, while some hung it upside down.

By evening I was ready to puke at the sight of the tricolor. It was everywhere!! Some people had used their genius creativity to make designs of the flags. They looked like tricolor mosaics and people were heard asking “What is that? Oh! That’s a circle made of flags yeah? How umm nice."

Just when I was fighting the tricolor overdose induced nausea, came the round of sweets. And you guessed it right, it was tricolor. Sigh.

Some people decided to go off the beaten path! I heaved sigh of relief!! They bought tricolor streamers!! *barf* Yet another group too decided to do something different, They bought tricolor brooches. By afternoon, the facilities team, not to be outdone, lovingly plonked a tricolor flag on every table. And lest we complaint of damp Independence Day spirit in the office, they topped it up with garlands made of Marigold on the workstation walls!

I suddenly felt pity for the British. So this was the reason they ran away!!! So much tricolor would have been a deadly assault on the sensitive British senses. And they used vegetable dyes in those days!!

Lunch was interesting. Tricolor pulao, and tricolor Koftas and everything else had a generous helping of white or orange and green in it. Dessert was tricolor cham cham! I was gagging! The assault of the tricolor was suffocating. And there were Nehrus and Tilaks and Rajendra Prasads walking around, talking of sales figures and year end targets. Very unnerving I tell you!

And the wont believe this…were dressed in white salwars and tricolor dupattas!! Yours truly stuck to a white salwar kurtha and white dupatta ( HR orders to wear ‘ethnic’). Someone lovingly stuck a tricolor bindi on my forehead and my tricolor misery was complete!

Outlook Express was a tricolor churning machine for the day. Every other mail came with images of Gandhi, Baby, Dove, Landscape and Sunflowers painted over with…you guessed right, the tricolor!!! The tricolor sunflower looked like that awful Wipro logo that I am sure Premji was made to adopt under gunpoint! Of course the e-cards had "Happy Independence Day" written all over in tricolor wedding fonts. Is there any limit to creativity? It was overstretched err overflowing in my office today.

Is this what Independence Day is all about I wondered. Then how different is it from Valentines and New Years!

There was a speech from a big boss that I knew by heart and when he paused to answer his phone, I caught myself lip syncing the words.

We must do our bit for the country blah blah. We must be responsible blah blah. Blah duties too and blah like patriotic blah, we must blah and we should blah blah. Then we can blah blah, so that we can progress blah blah into a SUPERPOWER!!”

*applause from khadi clad junta*

I silently thanked the gods that I was lip syncing the speech, or the bhaashan would have continued in a feminine voice while he attended a phone call.

Felt very frustrated by the end of the day. I took the plastic box of tricolor sweets tied with tricolor ribbons and pushed it into my bag. Somehow, I could not appreciate the enthusiasm of the decorators. I wish that enthusiasm was channeled elsewhere, like on the streets where the real India lives. Talk is cheap I know, but I wish the stupid Human Resources had taken us for a day's CSR at some orphanage or village school. At least for a day, I would have felt I did something relevant. I badly want to feel that I have done something. Right now I feel like an empty headed fool with my tricolor bindi and tricolor flag stuck with a pin on my salwar.

Hope this post doesn’t read like a bhaashan. But I am feeling damn frustrated right now to see Independence Day reduced to another commercial celebration like Valentines Day! When will we become a nation of doers and not just tricolor streamers err I mean dreamers?

( I am off to Kerala for the long weekend. Reply to comments will hence be delayed. Have a rocking weekend folks!!)


The one who has loved and lost said...

"Talk is cheap I know, but I wish the stupid Human Resources had taken us for a day's CSR at some orphanage or school."

You can still do that tomorrow..well today actually.. (its past midnight) with your friends.. colleagues..or even alone..go to an orphanage and do whatever you wanted to do.. it need not be on the independence day as well... any day of the year... any time.

"I badly want to feel that I have done something..........But I am feeling damn frustrated right now to see Independence Day reduced to another commercial celebration like Valentines Day! When will we become a nation of doers and not just tricolor streamers err I mean dreamers?"

If you are someone who are already doing these things like visiting orphanages and all, then you are already doing your part :-)

I think our hope for an India where everyone will come out of their selfish shells and work for the upliftment of society (blah blah) would only remain a utopian dream!!

All we can do is do our own bit..
And if it is meant to be, little drops of water will make up the mighty ocean.. at least its a dream worth doing something!

I think my comment has become a bigger bashan than yours... :-)

Need not post this comment .. said so much cos I was going through the same feelings after seeing so much pseudo patriotism floating around.. so I decided to do my bit for tomorrow :-)

Hari said...

You ought to read this. Period.

Happy Wedding! Expecting a 'silverine' post on it soon!! :D

skar said...

'Color'? :)

silverine said...

@All: Happy Independence Day!

the layman: Going to orphanages etc is something I have been doing for a long time now. I wanted the rest of the people in the office also to experience that. I had suggested it, got turned down as HR said that they already have CSR and didn't want to waste a working day! I have seen people who actually go for CSR initiatives getting hooked to it and then making time for it during weekends.

Hari: Read your post! I am done with words. I want some action now!

Karthik: Default blogger configuration. :p

mathew said...

After the world War II the display of national flag in Germany was not encouraged because of a fear of inducing nationalistic passion...The country was afraid to show that spirit, but instead they worked hard and rebuild the country..It was not until recently during the last world cup the germans actually felt "not-guilty" of displaying their own national flag.

We as a nation has a lot to learn from it..What we need is not a temporary boost of spirit from "music videos" that shows the "growing india"(which unfortunately is a 61 year old baby....what we need is a sense of nationalistic passion to put our country on the world map. A civic sense to keep our country clean,educate people and a mission to build infrastructures.

"Actions speak louder than words" is so true here..and we need to do something abt it..

jj said...

this morning I saw a guy riding a bike, clad in a tri-color t-shirt.
that was heights! I was full frustu by then and lo I reach here

I loved this post of yours!

Sriram said...

The tricolour misplaced your post too... this should be in poomanam!

scorpiogenius said...

Well, I think the apparent overdose was contributed by India winning the Gold at the Olympic stage. :))

Ah, leave it Silverine, its just one day in an yr no? Let them all exhibit their patriotism, afterall it doesnt do anyone any harm.. :)

Anonymous said...

Know what I was thinking of my changing my blog theme to something which had tri-colours =P

No pls don't take me seriously that was just a attempted humour aka chali

Prasanth said...

A poor attempt to foist on a most boring Aug 15,a subtle but enduring relevance.

There he stood, atop a mountain of trash on a truck, a tricolor in his hand, hooting at every girl in the vicinity(probably hoping for one the those usual black and white/sepia pics titled "tricolor on trash" and the accompanying fame).

There he stood, his skin color clearly betraying his origin to be from the land of the big Mac and the soon-to-be-bigger Mc(I refer to the John), sporting a tricolor on his shirt, surrounded as usual by the gaggle of adoring desis.


Neena Padayatty said...

My grandmother used to tell me about a rainy Aug 15 in 1947, when they went out in a procession wearing white...they had a reason to celebrate and probably deserved all the tricolors they could lay their hands on.

“Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”...good that there are Indians who realize the truth in these lines.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I completely agree with you on the whole overdose of tricolor and patriotic rubbish that the country indulges in every Aug 15th.

I honestly believe that people indulge in these things as a reaffirmation to themselves that they truly love their country. Otherwise, in the middle of all the paan spitting, peeing on roads, bribing cops and bureaucrats, abusing authority, people generally tend to forget that there were people who actually gave up their lives to unfurl the tricolor. So they indulge in this overdose of patriotism, more than anything else, to convince themselves that they love India.


Anonymous said...

I can understand your feelings and I am damn relieved that my office had declared holiday for Independence day.

HR's are hired for doing things you mentioned :P You can't blame them, its their idea of creativity. :D


Anonymous said...

Hi Anji,

Hope you are doing fine. I am back on the blogosphere; and with a new blog. Please visit it and also update your blogroll.


Anonymous said...

Well, that was certainly an overdose of tricolour.

I agree when you say more than celebration we want to be part of doing good. Having said that, I also agree with the first commentator that if you have been doing your bit, visiting orphanages and educating the unprivileged, you have done your bit. :)

Shiva said...

In some firms, even CSR initiatives are all talk...however, every independence day, tricolor as you say makes us end up a little sick...

silverine said...

Mathew: "61 year old baby" on. We are yet to grow up as a nation! I think it is high time we were made to realize that respecting our country means, respecting our roads, public facilities, rights and duties etc!

JJ: Thanks! :) I saw a guy too, shirtless and holding a flag, riding pillion with the flag painted on his back. I wondered if that would make a difference!!

Sriram: lol!! Even I wondered after writing the post, but this was a part frustu, part sad post so I posted it here!

Scorpiogenius: I have nothing against showing your patriotism, but whats the point if we forget it for the rest of the year!!

Balu:Thats the first thing that occurs to a lot of people because we got so used to symbolism and thats why I didnt put any picture of the flag which was my first instinct too! :p

Prasanth: Pithy!

Neena: That quote is so true and relevant to us!

Jairam: Agree with you there! I just felt pissed off to see so much money being spent on useless stuff when it could have fed an orphanage for a day!

lifeandlogic: We too had a holiday, so we had the celebration on the 14th! :) The less said about HR the better!

Pradeep: Have updated the blog link! :)

shiva: You are right! Luckily our CSR is pretty interactive with lots of people now taking part in it voluntarily!