Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Free Some Day



Burning eyes and the excitement of catching the American election news on CNN early this morning brought back memories of another election, one which took place more than twenty-one years ago.

New Delhi, March 20th, 1977, early morning:
My Dad sitting with his ear close to the old Pye Radio, on which the BBC newsreader's crackling shortwave voice announced the unbelievable, all the way from London. The Emergency was over. Indira Gandhi had lost the election and resigned.
My brother, telling us he'd gone to the University everyday during the Emergency singing, 'Free some day, yeah, free some day, yeah, we'll all be free some day.'
Now we were. Never mind that All India Radio did not make any announcements until much later in the day.
No election has roused as much enthusiasm and spirit in me as that one did. My father was wise enough to realise that the revocation of the Emergency in the last minutes of her rule had been Indira Gandhi's cleverest move. He still looked thoughtful while we rejoiced.

Watching Americans weeping with joy after the election results were announced, my elder daughter asked, 'Why cant we feel so much patriotism?’ to which her Dad replied, 'It takes a war or a cricket match to make us feel patriotic.' I like to think that a day will come when a young person will lead our country, too. That day, I am sure our politicians will not be dressed in sleepwear, as they are today.

7 comments:

Viji said...

And dressed in sleep wear they give us the nightmares

flowergirl said...

Ha ha good one Viji!

Well we dont cry, we burn buses and break windows. And then have a rasta roko since there are not enough buses, and dig holes to put up a pandal, so that the sleepwear gents can have a token fast (maybe bcos their wives didnt feed them that day) and some poor 2-wheeler sod goes and fall into the hole and dies, and then we break window again...

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Soon, I hope.

Viji , you made me laugh and lightened the mood.

Nice memories, especially of the Pye Radio - the old faithful. I can still visualise the exact spots on the bands where my favourite stations would be.

Kamini said...

Viji's comment made me laugh out, too.
Yes, it was so nice to see the pride and joy in people's faces, and feel the excitement and sense of history after this election. Let's hope things continue to move in a positive direction.

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

I loved your husband's remark "It will take a war on cricket to make us feel patritoic," That was witty. :-) Oh yes, despite all these irresponsible ploticians hanging around in large numbers, i'm sure there will come a day when we huddle around the living room, listening to a young new politician adressing india and feel some hope. I don't think we indians hate all politicans....for one thing, most of us love Abdul Kalam...i personally would love to see more people like him in office.

Happy Kitten said...

That was a good one.

Has become such a hopeless cynic that I fear I may not enjoy if ever there was such a moment in India. Still, wish our youngsters aspired to become good politicians.

Yesterday, our son asked me this strange question. ‘Amma, who is a politician? Are they terrorists?’ I laughed and asked him why. Seems his teacher gave him a strange account of terrorists and he got confused.

Anonymous said...

Emergency memory: Jan 1977, Bala's wedding reception in Madras. I showed up a little late.
Raji: How come you are late?
Me: I was giving an anti government speech. The cops came and it took a while to throw them off my track.
Raji (looking worried): Are you sure you gave them the slip?
Me (cheerfully): I certainly hope so!
Raji: I think you better leave. We dont want any trouble here.

Sekar