128 Monday Musings -A tale of two citizens
They are separated by a good score years or so and so it can be safely concluded that they belong to two separate generations. The years that yawn between them encompass two stories, keeping together two lives disjointed yet connected, in the sense that where one ends that other ought to have begun.
She is lightly over 60, has very little formal education to boast of, but is well versed in the language of her ancestors. She is literate in a very limited sense, that her Hindi is passable but has no familiarity to English whatsoever. Her life revolves around her family, cooking, washing and buying vegetables. She has spent her entire life fufilling familial responsibilities like millions like her in the social mileu she inhabits. Every Republic day and Independence day she demands a tricolor be brought to her.She would then struggle to climb to the terrace of her house, which is a small hamlet in some inconsequential hinterland of this vast country and tie the tricolor to a unceremonious bamboo stick and unfurl the national flag with the TV antennae acting as the spinal cord that keeps it erect and flying. The family and the nieghbours treated this with indulgence for a while, some even made fun of her fascination, but now have come to accept the ritual twice a year. No one is sure if she understands the concept of a nation, or that there is any background of service to nation that runs in her family or she has had any experience that has drawn her to the strongest symbol of a nation - but come the republic day and the independence day she is resolute that she WILL unfurl the flag.
He is a young progeny of the liberalised India. He has flourished with whatever the country had provided - and amongst his friends is a common refrain, that they had succeed inspite of the country and not because of it. He mocks the government sector for all its shoddiness, ineptitude, callousness, lack of initiative, poor security, overburdening taxes and under delivery of governance. Luckily he is not alone in it. He is educated, articulate and aware. He has read all the history, has all his facts right, knows the major events of the Indian struggle of independence, can argue in favor or against the (controversial) role of all major stalwarts of the struggle with passion and eloquence. One might not be wrong to include him in the resurgent middle class, that is the pride of last twenty years and many argue, upon whom the future of this country depends.
This was a long weekend including the Independence day holiday. She unfurled the flag. He went on a holiday.