Every year, come every Independence day/Republic day I feel a sense of deja-vu- and its not because I wake up and see the same face in the mirror ever year and wonder why it looks so familiar. The reason is what I see on TV…which my dad switches on infallibly every independence day morning to torture us with the live telecast. Some years I get a respite by intentionally asking for and doing emergency duty just to escape watching the idiot box at home. And I hope to do it this year too- if the networks don’t change their wayward behavior.
Now I will list what gets my goat every year.
1) The Presidential Address: Every year infallibly the world’s most utterly boring speech on television is given by the Indian President- regardless of the incumbent. I believe there is a rule somewhere in the constitution that says all Presidential speeches have to be boring and delivered in a mumbling and incomprehensible voice. As if the person delivering the speech is bored out of their skulls with their own speech and wish they could just finish the job and disappear till another independence day comes up next year. Which they do. Sometimes I wonder by they don’t just dub the voice or get a professional voice-over artist to do it- imagine James Earl Jones saying “Namaskar” in his inimitable voice. Or Lata Mangeshkar dubbing for Pratibha Patil..Now wouldn’t people at least sit and hear what they say?
2) Those Parades Of Bought Machinery: The next item on the agenda is the long lines of imported/bought military hardware being paraded proudly along the Rajghat, by our armed forces, as if to ask “see what your taxes bought us?” For years and years, I have waited and watched for any original, authentic made-in-India equipment, but it’s the same, manufactured under license, older generation weapons discarded by more advanced militaries. I am not sure if this kind of saber rattling scares the Pakistanis or the Chinese, but it sure as hell scares our own politicians and helps to keep the army away from Delhi busy in occupied territories like the north east. And on a related note, there used to be something called DRDO- the Indian defense research lab, anyone seen it around recently or reported it lost at the police station?
3) A R Rahmans Vande Matram : every independence day morning infallible every TV channel plays the re-mixed version of Rahmans Vande Matram. Don’t get me wrong, I did like this slightly off-beat version when Rahman first re-mixed it, but nowadays I would prefer even prefer to hear the MS Subbulakshmi original bhajan version compared to rahman crooning nasally “maa tujhe salam”. Go salam somewhere else dude- not in my bedroom; on holidays I want to sleep late.
4) Those Patriotic movies: if it’s Sony Pix – It’s got to be Gandhi, the Richard Attenborough version, every year/twice-a-year infallibly on Republic Day and Independence Day. If it’s the heavyweight regional channels- it’s the latest Tamil blockbuster, though I fail to understand what it has to do with the national spirit. And my worst nightmare- Roja, the Manirathnam Movie- tune into any channel in any language on Independence Day and you can catch this movie being looped repeatedly. I wonder why? Does no other movie fit the label of “patriotic watch” enough to be screened on national holidays?
5) All those Faux Flag hoisting: show me any empty upright (or even half-leaning) post/rod/pole- and I will show you a politician/quasi-politician/wannabe politician wanting to raise the national flag on the day. And then want you to stand at attention and sing the national anthem fervently in exchange for a toffee/peppermint. And then they make speeches about serving the nation, about being honest and non corrupt; topics which make you gag when you realize who is doing the lecturing.
So, that about sums up my pet peeves on every Independence Day. Got any of your own?