Happy Independence Day

Saare Jahan Se Achcha

Rajiv tightened the bolts and removed the jack. The tyre fixed, the customer paid the mechanic and thanking him, drove away whistling a merry tune.

It had been raining incessantly since morning. There had been a steady inflow of cars and bikes which had broken down in the downpour and so Rajiv had decided to stay for the night in his garage only.

Wearily, he washed his sullied hands and sat down to have his dinner, a cold and soggy vada pao and an equally cold cup of tea he was in no mood to reheat. Oh yuck! One sip of the 'tea' and he was ready to throw up. And then he noticed it......!

Grabbing a long rod with a hook, he hobbled outside on his prosthetics. Cautiously draping himself on the slippery moss covered tree trunk, he lunged at the topmost branch and caught hold of the soaked and crumpled tricolor still fluttering with the gusty winds.

Apparantly the 'tiranga' had been discarded in the open garbage dump nearby and then somehow found its way atop the tall, voluminous Gulmohar. He washed it carefully and hung it to dry under the rickety fan.

Photo courtesy: hdwallpapersbackgrounds.com

He woke up at the crack of dawn, the sun still played truant and the sky was still overcast, he smoothed out the wrinkles on the flag and inserted a rod in the fold. As he reverently hoisted the national flag that he had also held aloft proudly at the NCC Day parade, the strains of the national anthem being played in the school nearby echoed in the valley, making him hum along.

'Happy Independence Day Flight Lieutenant Rajiv', he mumbled to himself.

Saare jahan se achcha Hindostan hamara.....crackled the ring tone of his ancient Nokia 1100 cell phone, setting off a flurry of memories rushing through his veins again....

How he wished the cab driver had not jumped the signal that night the five ambitious engineering students with fire in their belly and patriotism in their blood, had gone to a friend's place to celebrate his birthday! How he wished someone had stopped and rushed the profusely bleeding boys to the hospital in time! How he wished he had not lost his parents in that car accident when they were rushing to their only son lying critically injured in the ICU of hospital! How he wished his leg had not got crushed under the errant driver's truck on that ill fated day and ruined his lifelong ambition of joining the Indian Airforce! How he wished he had got that crucial fee exemption from the premier management institute! How he wished..........!

And just then the heavens opened up again efficiently wiping away the silent tears trickling down his cheeks!


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