Here at the Foundation, we’ve always celebrated the two big national holidays – Independence Day and Republic Day – with a bang. Independence Day we do with the children and their parents, but Republic Day is just for us.
Every project comes up with a music or dance item and though we pride ourselves on being a totally non-competitive organisation, there is the tiniest bit of cut-throat-ness in the intensity with which each group prepares and practices.
But the best part is simply being together. Scattered all over the town, and each centre with its own tight schedule, it’s rare for us to all come together in one place. So when we do, it’s cause for celebration: fine clothes, beautiful dancing, music, poetry and amazing food.
Oh, yes, and the flag! The petals drift down, the national anthem is sung and then the fun begins.
This year Karuna Vihar – the host for the event – outdid itself with the arrangements. “Welcome to Mini-India!” the sign over the gate read and we walked in to discover just that: Mini-India was a series of stalls depicting life in the four corners of the country, plus Nepal, since so many of our staff are from there. The clothes of each region were displayed and worn; games demonstrated and the range of food – all lovingly prepared at home – well, you had to see it to believe it.
I came away from this particular Republic Day dazzled by the talents of my colleagues –
and struck even more than I usually am by the vastness of this nation and the sheer variety its culture contains.
I’m always struck by how gorgeous Indian women are. This time, I was also struck by the men!
Watch out ladies! You’ve got a lot of competition in the mini-republic of the Latika Roy Foundation!