I hadn’t heard our National Anthem, in years, not being a type, who wakes up fanatically, every Republic Day, and switches on the TV to see our guards march past. I think the last time when I really “heard” it, was when I “sang” it, an odd 10 years ago, at our school Founder’s Day. With pristine, WHITE uniforms, starched till it almost crackled, we would stand, shoulder to shoulder, backs straight, and heads held high. Our school song, and the national anthem, lead the general proceedings. And damn, did we feel proud of all that we symbolized, with those two refrains.
Last nite, I heard it again. On TV. Zubin Mehta and his orchestra. He began the show with the Anthem. For a moment, I just sat there, slack-jawed, as I hadn’t been expecting it. Then, some deep inner being kicked into place, and up i scrambled. And even though I felt weird standing there alone, I couldn’t NOT do it. And I’m glad, for it proved to me, that I’m yet not overtaken by the blasé-ness of our times. I know many people, even some who are good friends, who wouldn’t have bothered. I’m ashamed to say that I honestly don’t know what I would have done, if in a totally public setting, with none others standing.
Guess it sometimes takes a grand old man, and a team of wonderful musicians from far-flung Bavaria to remind us of what our families and our schools taught us, in our innocent days. And what we still hold precious.