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Behind the scenes of Rebublic day Celebrations

Republic day. What do the words bring to your mind? What pictures do the words form? Yes! Tableaus! Parades. School children! I had the opportunity to be on scene and also be a part of the Delhi State Republic Day celebrations held on 25th Jan. Yes The state celebrations are held on 25th itself for obvious reasons. Right from the rehearsals to the D Day as a member of the Medical team deputed to be on the spot for medical management. First I would like to share some behind the scenes or rehearsal photographs to give an idea of the effort and hard work behind the glitz and shine of the celebrations.

After those photographs (which were a bit low on the quality) I have some anecdotes of some humorous moments that we had- All in a day’s work.

Our work was mostly about managing any emergencies that may arise on field during rehearsals or on D Day. The emergencies were not such serious ones and more about dehydration or hypoglycemia due to skipping of breakfast ( which is a norm now a days among school kids) Unless and until it was a case of fever, abdominal pain or etc ,  a glass of ORS or Glucogenated drinks would do the trick. So the day used to pass in   preparing ORS from bottles of water and the ORS  packets and be on alert or kids who would sway or swoon. And it used to be a practice to automatically hand out the ors bottle. On D Day, when we were just getting ready with our wares, a uniformed lad with another man came to our post and sat on one of the chair.

Nurse:  Handing out the ORS bottle- Have it.

Lad:  No thank you

Nurse:  Sternly- have it or you will feel worse.

Lad:  No no. Shaking his head vehemently.

Nurse frowned stubbornly, shoving the bottle under his nose resolutely, when his companion exclaimed in frustration-“ He is here just to straighten and fix his cap” much to my nurse’s embarrassment.

Many children didn’t like the taste of ORS and instead preferred plain water, whereas, we had instructions to provide ORS or glucose drink only. A little boy, once came up to the booth, and very sweetly asked,

Aunty Sada Paani de do na?”- (Auntie please give a bottle of Plain water)

I replied busily (well I was busy with some work)- “Nahin Beta, yahan pe sirf Khara paani hi milega” much to the amusement of my paramedical staff and bewilderment  of the kid( No dear you will find only hard water over here.- Khara paani is the antonym of the word saada pani ,hence was spoken by me in a flow)

Then after the ceremony was over, some supervisory staff came up to us to take home some medicines for their recurrent maladies, which we generously distributed. There was this female, who was a wee bit obnoxious and she asked for some cotton gauzes and betadine ointment- all wound dressing materials. We were wrapping up, so without making much fuss I handed over the required things. She was pleased as a punch and as a parting shot she confessed while leaving,- Well you see ! it’s for my dog. Grrrrr!

At the point when our soulful National song was played during rehearsals, everybody used to stand up with rapt attention. But I used to wonder a couple of times, if by some chance a kid fainted during the National song or National Anthem, what was a medic supposed to do? I know, it’s very simple, Hippocrates wins hands down. But I used to repeat this to myself everyday so as not to be too carried away during those moments of Patriotism and forget my duty. If you are wondering – Big deal? Then here, read this. On the D day, a girl of around 14 was feeling giddy and she was brought to our post. My nursing orderly was just about to hand her a glass of ORS when Vande Mataram started playing. Splat went the glass. Yes my NO dropped the glass without a thought and stood to attention. The poor kid who had brought her trembling lips forward to sip it was left high and dry. I mouthed a “stupid “ at her and rushed to the kid’s side and helped her to some more of the ORS. But , wait neither am I infallible. Even I had one of such moments.

When the rehearsals used to take place on field, half of the staff used to be on the spot  for immediate management while I was supposed to stay back for supervision with two stretcher bearers  as a back up. If there was any emergency on field I used to rush in then. Obviously I kept an eye for any type of flitting or rushing movement (which indicated that something had happened on field). That day it was going easy. The temperature was cool. Refreshment had been handed out early, (no question of hypoglycemia) so I decided to take a stroll around the field for a routine survey. I had just reached the opposite side when I saw one of my stretcher bearer rushing in the periphery towards the second post and I heard cries of -Madam Madam! I just closed my eyes without trying to find out where the cries were coming from, shut my brain out and rushed madly towards where the stretcher bearer was heading, after him, crossing the whole field. The cries became more furious, but I just rushed on. Breathless I managed to catch him and inquired where the patient was. Confused he pointed towards the midfield, the spot that I had so quickly shot passed.. He had come running to call his companion who was on the other post on an errand, in order to lift the stretcher. I felt idiotic to the point of jumping in a well out of embarrassment.

Well those were some of “those” moments that usually symbolise the chaos behind the façade of calm. But all is well that ends well. The celebrations were a success and the day or duty ended without any major embarrassments. On a parting note, I would like to just add this one more incident that took place on 25th Jan unrelated to my duty but very much related to Republic Day. My 3 year old daughter who attends a pre nursery school was supposed to dress up like a national leader/freedom fighter as a part of the republic day celebrations. It was compulsory to send her as one much to my irritation. That’s a strange way to instill patriotism in a kid of three who could hardly hold her pants up properly. I mean how was she supposed to manage a sari ? She refused any kind of Pants Shirt, dhoti, kurta. So no question of Nehru Chacha or Subhash Chandra Bose. Well then Laxmi Bai ? Bhikaji Cama? Nah! No saree . No lehenga. I was in a fix. I dressed her up in a frilly frock, which she gleefully did and send off her to school with a label pasted behind which said- Annie Besant.. Now I am dreading the day I have to attend the next PTA meeting.

Well, so that was Republic Day for me. Full of excitement and new experiences. How about yours? Do write to us if you have any interesting anecdotes to share with us. We will be glad to publish it .

0 26 January, 2011 India Matters January 26, 2011

About the author

She is a Doctor by profession , working in Delhi. Loves traveling, mind games and playing with words… And also the chief-co brewer of GingerChai. She is the chief brewer of some of the interesting categories you see in GingerChai. Follow @manishalsam

View all articles by Mani Padma


  1. S.R.Ayyangar

    During my school days, Republic Day & Independence Day used to be a big affair. Those days the whole atmosphere used to get charged with patriotism. We used to assemble in the school, and after unfurling the National flag and singing national anthem , all the students along with teachers used to go round the town in procession called “Prabhat Pheri”(in Hindi) in an orderly manner waiving the national flag and shouting ‘Vande Matram’ , ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ or singing patriotic songs. At all the strategic points of the town, patriotic film songs used to be played on the loud speaker. After gong round the town, we used to re-assemble at the school to collect our sweet packet and to run for cinema theatre where any Children or Patriotic movie used to be screened free of cost exclusively for the school children.

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