And as Republic Day approaches, I remember a few years ago, when I wore a black kurta and black pants and went for a flag hoisting. “Smart!” said my daughter.
“Inappropriate!” said a man wearing a white kurta, with a black jacket, who was greeting everybody with a lot of bonhomie.
“Inappropriate?” I asked surprised.
“Yes!” he said, “Wear white for Republic Day!”
“What about your black jacket?” I asked.
“That is okay!” he said, “It is appropriate!”
I pondered over the gentleman’s remark. In a country where we have mixed cultural roots, where one man’s meat ( and literally so ) is another man’s poison, where we need to understand that we have to tolerate another’s way of thinking, we have people like such men and women who have the audacity to tell a stranger they do not like somebody’s dress sense.
“I do not like the movie!” shouts the mob.
“Then don’t see it!” says the rest of India.
“But we don’t want you to see it too!”
And we can see this happening to many movies being produced now.
I then turn to another group running after a petrified man, “He eats what we don’t!”
“So, don’t eat what I eat, just leave me alone!” pleads the man, who is about to be lynched.
“No!” shouts the mob, “You eat what we eat!”
And this is how the country is changing. A few years back, I doubt I would have met an impolite fellow like this anywhere, but today, it has become the fashion that people expect others to follow what they believe in.
India is made up of a tapestry of different cultures and religions, all delicately interwoven, but put together not with ropes but with sensitive, soft and subtle threads, that add to the beauty of the design though some may not be seen.
But these very near invisible bonds are being broken cruelly and with a purpose by destructive forces.
I watched the flag being hoisted and greeted friends and acquaintances who I’d known for years.
From the corner of my eye I looked out for the same churlish gentleman.
He sat alone, and my heart beat with joy, for in that aloneness I realized there was hope for my country. These loud spoken men and women, rioters, the mob, have loud voices, shouting, “Inappropriate! Ban the movie! Kill the writer!”
But finally, such people should be left alone. By not giving him importance I had stilled his voice. What they want is argument and dissent. What treatment they need is to be ignored.
“Jai Hind!” I cried with the rest of my friends, even as they didn’t mind what I wore and I didn’t mind what they ate..!
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