Today is August 15 and I am far from home, some 17,000 miles and seven oceans away, thinking of you.
I know this is a special day for you. Today is your birthday. While I take part in celebrations at a small Indian gathering in the temple here, smiling at unknown faces, enjoying the potluck dinner, thoughts about you come to my mind.
I remember the white dhoti and crisp cotton shirt I was supposed to iron and keep ready a day before. I see the happiness and pride on your face as you told us kids again, for the nth time, the story of how the British left us, gave us freedom on your birthday.
In the morning, when you were away for the flag-hosting ceremony near the small library at home, we used to make fun of your story. I, your pet, was the best mimic, the one who went at you for all I was worth.
We grew up fast. I remember waving you a hasty goodbye. With new life and friends, at times I forgot your birthday. At times frustrated by our politicians and eager to point fingers, I fervently argued at seminars and debates how army rule would make India efficient -- yes, on this same day.
I am ashamed to admit it, but I have pointed fingers at our nation's father too. Finding fault with the older generation was a good way to pass the time. My age was young, my blood hot.
I took the first plane abroad, to make it happen here, away from you. Sending money back home was patriotic enough. I was ashamed of the pictures of poverty in India that flashed on the TV screens here. Armchair patriotism gave me a high; it won praise among my friends.
I forgot your birthday. Forgot the story you used to tell us. Forgot the sacrifices you made. Forgot the shiver in your voice, the love in your eyes when you sang Vande mataram. I forgot your birthday.
You are around no more for me to wish you. To undo the things I want to undo. Somewhere you will be singing Vande mataram, your birthday song, telling your story to the people there.
I want to thank you for this wonderful day, thank you for the freedom it has given me to attack your thoughts, to mock your story, to point fingers.
Happy birthday, grandpa. And thank you again.
HOME | NEWS | CRICKET | MONEY | SPORTS | MOVIES | CHAT | BROADBAND | TRAVEL
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | SEARCH
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK