A grand celebration for the adoption of the Constitution and grandly done. They have been practising for weeks and we were happy to take our seats in the enclosure just as the President and the Prime Minister were drawing up behind a cavalry of proud horsemen.
This year, unlike the last, the day was bright and clear and you could see the avenue stretching from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. We were greeted with a flyover of four helicopters and what made it uniquely and quintesentially Indian was the fact that the orange stream coming out of the helicopters was none other than myriads of marigold petals. We were showered and shimmered in orange.
A huge rocket launcher lumbered past to the cheers of the crowd. The pipes that connected one part of this rocket launcher to a generator or some such object were lovingly covered in aluminium foil. I am able to recognize this now as all the pipes from my airconditioners are similarly carefully coated.
The cockades were innumerable and as varied as a rainbow. Red, orange, black, green, the uniforms crisp and clean, the regiments too numerous to mention, Punjab dating back to the 18th Century. Proud upright and hugely diverse were the faces of the soldiers who marched past.
And perhaps a sign of the times, soldiers in a movable war room complete with fans, air-conditioners and computers. Women pilots in the airforce, floats on the response to chemical warfare and the all weather clothing.
Contrasting this with 6Guards as they are called suited in red and black with leapord skins on their shoulders playing their shiny instuments. Bands on camels, camels on parade, and floats from every part of India and every ministry showing Buddhist temples, sikkim dancers, huge locusts sitting on mushrooms,tigers and birds and schools being held under a tree of knowledge. My favourite was this one which was done entirely with Indian flowers showing the fragility of the world of tigers and birds.
The motorcycle formations-upside down and the other way round. Riding in perfect lines and without a tremble or a turn. They gave way to the fly past, this year stunningly shining in the bright light ending with the release of balloons and flags celebrating India, its colours and its might.