Republic Day flag-hoisting at the nearby park, early this morning. The announcer calls all in the park to come be part of the ceremony. As people assemble, we notice that the woman standing beside us is humming, under her breath, "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." She sits down on a chair, still humming it.
Just before the announcer calls the chief guest to unfurl the flag, a tall paunchy man in a baseball cap behind us calls out to a few people who are still walking: "Hey Pakistani! Stop walking! Don't be a Pakistani!"
Over on the other side of the park, plenty of other people are still walking. Pakistanis, all.
The chief guest unfurls the flag, there's applause, and the national anthem, sung unaccountably like a dirge, breaks out over the PA system.
Through the first half of the anthem, a man standing next to the chief guest motions again and again a boy in the front row. The boy has his arms in front of him, wrists crossed at the waist (like I'm standing, I notice), and this man wants him to stand at attention with arms to the side. That's how you pay respect during the anthem, I suppose. The boy can't understand what the man wants, so the man's gesturing and motioning gets more and more animated. Till, about halfway through the anthem, he finally gives up.
Don't know if the man is aware of just how he himself looked during the anthem.
Ceremony done, we disperse to celebrate the rest of the day India gave herself a Constitution. As we stroll out, the boy's arms are finally at his side. So are mine.