Independence Day

Today is India’s Independence Day. The young nation is only 66 years old.

I participated in my school’s Independence Day program which consisted of a march past, a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new playground and a cultural show. I was  part of the party of dignitaries which meant that I got to sit with the Chief Guest and the Principal throughout the entire program.

For this reason, I am actually quite glad that I did not wear a sari. All of the teachers were wearing saris, most with touches of saffron, white and green, the colors of the Indian flag. I wore all white with a green dupatta. I had a subtle accent of saffron with my bracelets. I was part of the initial procession, I paid tribute to the flag, I touched the ribbon during the ribbon cutting ceremony and I also snapped pictures–when I could. I would have been a nervous wreck if I had to worry about adjusting my sari considering the fact that I can barely keep my dupatta draped across my shoulders. Nevertheless, I have committed to wearing a sari for the next big event, and I can’t wait. Plus, now I know what is expected of me at some of these school-wide events. Give a speech? I’m ready. Make an offering? Let me take my shoes off. Wear a sari? Wrap me up.

After the flag hoisting ceremony we (the dignitaries) had refreshments with the principal. I kept waiting for the moment when they would say, “OK Adizah, just hang back,” but it never came. We had practiced the ceremony the day before and I thought I was just standing in for the Chief Guest, not a part of her posse. I must admit, I felt quite important and I was very thankful for the rehearsal the day before.

The cultural performance was magnificent. The primary school girls put on a production which commemorated 9 of the many freedom fighters from the independence movement. The narrators would introduce the freedom fighter, then the background choir would sing an appropriate song and then, the person would walk on stage. My favorite was the little Gandhi complete with staff, glasses and bald cap. I just loved how much conviction they all had in their high little voices. I also enjoyed the dance and choir performances that followed. The most exciting moment for me was when the class eight girls did their dance performance. It was ‘western dance’ and I had helped them with a little bit of the choreography during my first week. I was so happy to see them up on stage performing the finished product. They even took the notes that I gave them the day before into consideration. It was touching for me to be involved in the show even in the slightest of ways.

I left school today feeling very connected to the school community and so proud of all my students. I can’t wait for the next big cultural show, its one of the many things that I am now looking forward to.

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