The 60th anniversary of our country’s independence didn’t feel all that special to me. I think it was because one really can’t get into the spirit of the day as long one’s in a foreign nation.
Here in Shanghai we tried our best. About 50 of us gathered for Independence Day celebrations at 7 in the morning. The Tricolour was unfurled. Then the Consul General read out excerpts from the President’s dull speech. This was followed by a handful of tone-deaf ladies, who call themselves ‘Sur Shanghai’ singing a couple of patriotic songs. They sang ‘Vande Mataram’ tolerably well, but they absolutely butchered ‘Aye Mere Watan ke Logon’. They raced through the song like they had a flight to catch. Sur Shanghai’s performance was followed by a bunch of kids singing ‘Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein’. It was surprisingly good.
Afterwards we all marched up to the Consulate for breakfast. This consisted of samosas, gulab jamun and kaju katli. I felt slightly ill at the thought of abusing my tummy with these at 8 AM, but I managed to grin and bear it.
All in all, the proceedings were scalier than ones I’ve experienced in India, but then I’m in China. What else could I have expected?