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My chest swells with pride, and my eyes well up with joy. My country celebrates seventy-five years of independence with such fervour. Homes, shops, and tall buildings with their windows adorned with the National Flag. Glad to be back home.

“Hey, dude! Good job on Gandhiji’s costume.” Someone taps my shoulder and I turn around to spot a group of teenagers, boys and girls dressed in spotless white.

“A selfie?” They surround me and fish out something from their pockets. They click constantly, photographs, I guess.

I wish to converse, but they saunter off, pressing their devices.

“Hashtag Independence Day, Hashtag Bapu, Instafeed. Now what? Lunch, movie and party?” One of them calls out.

“Wait man, function at college. Same old speeches on independence. Should be over in an hour.” They disperse without a second glance at me.

Youth, always in a hurry.

“Sir!” Someone calls out, “Do come in.”

I am ushered into some Housing Society’s compound.

“Fancy dress competition?” A gentleman enquires. “Would you join us for Flag Hoisting?”

“Jana Gana Mana…” They sing in unison. I rejoice, so they do appreciate our struggle. What more could I ask for?

The moment it’s over, I’m flanked again. They’re posing around me, for what looks like a million photographs.

“Flag in the background, Gandhiji in the center, social media, upload.” The words ring in my ears.

“Last year it was on Sunday. A long weekend this time, we’re off.” A family packs suitcases in their car.

“We’ll chill at home. Stocked up yesterday, today’s dry day Yaar!” Some laugh.

In a matter of seconds, it’s only me, Tiranga, and an old, unheard loudspeaker deserted in the garden.

As I pick the tea cups and miniature flags strewn across the ground, I realize what we had fought for. A Holiday.

Picture Courtesy: Chauhan

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