( This post was written by Rachit in January 2010.)
Avinash uncle invited us to see the full-dress rehearsal of republic day parade.
We went to Connaught place by blue line metro. At Connaught place, we changed to yellow line for the central secretariat. When we reached out of the station we saw that there was fog everywhere. Avinash uncle came by car to take us to his house. We slept there at night.
I woke up early to get ready for the mock parade. A jeep came to take us to the VIP zone at Rajpath. We walked around one km from the place the jeep left us. At parade ground there were two security checks.
After security checks we reached the place where seating arrangement was done. It was heavy fog in the morning. Chairs were all wet. Luckily we took a cloth and a newspaper to wipe it. After wiping the chairs we were able to sit on them. We were lucky. When we reached there, many chairs were vacant. Soon it was all filled.
First came the prime-minister and then the president arrived. They were not the real president and prime-minister; they were someone else (it was a mock parade). I liked the cars of prime-minister and president. After president, the bodyguards of president came on horses. Avinash uncle told us that they are called ‘THE GUARDS’. The national flag was hoisted and BOOM-BOOM cannon shots were fired to salute the Flag and national anthem was sung. In total, twenty-one cannon salutes were given. They were loud and vibrated all of my body.
Then the parade started. The fog started to clear with it. There were several regiments with their bands – The Sikh Regiment, the Gorkha regiment, ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Boarder police), Army, Navy, Air force and many more … There also came the parade of the old people who have retired.
I liked the Air force dress very much. They were not wearing any cap. The dress and the cap of army were like tree. So when the enemy attacks they are not able to find that they were people or the trees.
The parading troops were moving their hands. They were raising their legs up very high. When they came in front of us, the taps of their shoes was great.
The commanders of the music bands were juggling their sticks, throwing it in the air and catching them cleanly. It was their way of saluting. Then the battalion of BSF came on camels. They fight in the Thar Desert at the border of India. Following them were the cleaners to clean the road 🙂
Then the Arjun Tank came. It had a gun that can revolve 360 degree. It can also move up and down. I asked my Papa, “They moved so slowly, how will they fight in battlefield”? Avinash uncle told us that they were slow in the parade only. They can move as fast as 72 Km per hour.
Then came the jet fighter plane – Tejas. And then a big, fat and very long missile – Agni. Its attack range is 6500 Km. Then a long slender missile “Shaurya” came. It is mobile and can be carried everywhere and launched from a moving vehicle. Then a truck with many missile launchers came. I asked my Papa – “How many missiles it can launch at a time”. He corrected me that it launches rockets and not missiles. It can launch 12 rockets at a time. Then came a tanker. It can fire 500 shots in one minute. They announced that when these shots land, they go deep inside the earth.
It was followed by the exhibits of many states and ministries. Rajasthani exhibit had Jantar-Mantar with face of Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur. I thought it was Maharana Paratap. Chattisgarh showed caves all surrounded by water. I liked it very much. Bihar’s exhibit showed the Silk-worm and people were doing weaving and spinning. One exhibit had a steam engine with Durant AC coaches. It went in front of us with the voice of chuk-chuk -kooo. I thought of my younger brother Tanmay shouting with joy – Coco. He calls train Coco 🙂 That day he could not come with us, he is too young.
I liked the exhibit of Maharashtra. They showed people packing the lunch boxes. They were singing “Mumbai kaa dabbewaala, Mumbai kaa daabewaala …”. I esp liked a fat man who was packing and delivering lunch boxes in full masti.
Now the parade was over.
I asked Papa, “Papa, last year there were motorcycle stunts as well”. Immediately,I saw everyone was standing up. There was a biker standing on his motorcycle and driving his bike. Then after that a biker came he was standing on a pole and balancing his bike. Last bike stunt had thirty-two bikers on five bikes, moving like a wall. Watching motorcycle stunts there was very different from watching it on TV. It was very good.
In the end the air-show started. Three fighter planes flew over us. The middle one of them had radar on top. Avinash uncle told us that it was a mid-air refueling capability. Then three fighter planes came. They all went straight, and then vertical and made a loop. Phew!
In the end from three different places, many, many gas balloons went high up in the sky. These were green, white and orange in color. It was very beautiful.
We were all hungry and thirsty. We were not allowed to take even water inside. When we were walking towards Avinash uncle’s house we bought and drank water and Butter-scotch milk, and ate cream-roll and a toffee. We then went to Avinash uncle’s house by bus. There, first I ate Aloo-Parantha and then me and Avinash uncle ate our favourite home-made “Gond kaa Ladoo”.
Delicious! A tasty end to a thrilling day.
I wrote it very hurriedly because I wanted to publish it before Republic day. Wish you all a very Happy Republic day.