Leaving India again felt different this time, perhaps because I had enjoyed the festival so much, perhaps because I had a great appetite for the incredible food, if not the traffic jams, seen friends whom I had missed and did not have to deal with any red tape. Others could do that. There were signs that suggested women were freer than before and others that placed them squarely in the fate of the menfolk around them. I guess that happens everywhere until everyone catches up to how it should be, if that day will ever come. But there was pride as well - pride at what the country had achieved, and I saw that in the debates at the Festival, the curiosity of the youth and their thirst for social media, another form of the printed word, but also the ferocity with which reactionary suggestions and tendencies were firmly booted out. I was in Delhi just after Republic day. This is possibly the only day in Delhi when you can travel on open empty roads, when shops are shut and everyone is able to enjoy a fantastic parade with everything the nation has to offer including female fighter pilots and dogs in the army.
The noise and traffic picking up by the hour and the day stretching into a miasma of roads and destinations some attainable, some not. As I wander through I see this Billboard above me and think times, if not traffic, are moving and thoughts, once unthinkable are now plastered all over the City.I am momentarily boyed by this realisation. It is however in English, a language that most of the nation, apart from the middle classes, does not speak.