Independence Day

Today is the 15th of August. It is India’s Independence Day. “Happy Independence Day!”

Mr Acharya shouted while entering the house. Mumma Acharya smiled and replied, “Happy Independence Day to All”

“Mumma!!!” Ruhi and Rohan said in unison. They were still in bed. Ruhi opened her eyes and was surprised to her parents all dressed up on a holiday.”What are you both wearing?!” She quizzed as she noticed the white and tricolour dresses that her parents had worn. Rohan had also woken up and he was equally puzzled. “What’s that Mumma? Oh! A cake! A tricoloured cake!” Rohan said excitedly as his imagination ran wild.

Mrs Acharya put the cake carefully on the table and replied to her children, “Today is India’s birthday! It is Independence Day! Get up fast! We will celebrate! And it’s a holiday!” She brimmed with a smile.

“What is I-N-D-P-E-N …?” mumbled the five-year-old Rahul.

“I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-C-E” Mrs Acharya corrected the pronunciation. Ruhi and Rohan both repeated and spelt back.

“But what does it mean?” quizzed Ruhi and rolled her eyes.

“Independence means that you can do things as per your own will and understanding. Not as orders from someone else.”

“Oh! Does that mean we are free to do anything?” Ruhi retorted with an impish grin.

“Yes beta! But it also means owning responsibility for our actions. We got free from British rule after a long struggle. It required sacrifice from millions of people all over the country. The Britishers had dominated our country for years and years. They used our country and people for their benefit. We were under their rule and they treated us like slaves. But we got freedom on this day. And today we are free and not as slaves. We can do things independently for our good and not for anyone else’s.” Mrs Acharya explained in a serious tone.

“And why is that important, Daddy?” Ruhi asked Mr Acharya, who had been standing behind his wife all this while.

“Now it makes us proud to see you people take steps towards your independence. Like brushing your teeth. Combing your hair. Tying your shoelaces. Choosing what you want to draw in your art class. All this makes you independent. And we are proud parents when we see you doing these things on your own. Making decisions and acting on them! That is why it is so important!” Mr Acharya replied, trying to make his daughter understand.

“15th August is the day when got our independence from the British rule. Come on kids! Every year we celebrate this day. We remember our freedom fighters, soldiers and their sacrifices. Today is the 73rd Independence Day. We pay our tribute to them. Let us go downstairs to the community hall of the housing society, We will celebrate our independence!”

Everyone reached the community hall. A big gathering of families was already present. They were all dressed up in various shades of the tricolour. The tricolour cake was cut with great enthusiasm and distributed among all.

Ruhi and Rohan were happy to see the flag hoisting. Of course, they liked the laddoos and toffees they got as part of the celebrations.

They moved to the play area. Rohan tried his hands at putting rings on various items to win them. He tried one after another. But he missed all!

“Ah No! Oh! No!”

Ramu Kaka stood watching amusedly. He offered to help, “Let me show you how!” But Rohan resisted, “No! I want to do this Independently!”

“Wow! That’s great Rohan! Try and you will surely succeed!”

Megha was on a see-saw. She was watching Rohan. She also wanted to do her see-saw by herself.

Mrs Mishra asked Megha, to sit opposite Adi. To balance the see-saw. But Megha insisted on sitting alone. “I am independent!”

“It’s a bit tricky to see-saw alone!!” Mrs Mishra said smilingly.

“It’s OK aunty! Let me try!”I N D E P E N D E N T L Y !!!!

All the children tried various games by themselves. Suddenly Rohan fell from the swing and hurt himself. Kapoor uncle quickly took out an ointment from his pocket and applied it on the bruise.

Rohan’s parent came running and took him to the nearby clinic. Rohan noticed that Kapoor uncle helped his father.

“Rohan! Are you alright?” His mother hugged and kissed him.

“Mumma, I am alright!”

His wound was dressed in the clinic. Mrs Acharya took both the kids back.

“United we stand! We all help each other. Though we are independent to do our duties, we love each other and care for each other. Both her kids kissed her. She was happy. Today, they had taught an important lesson to their children about Independence.

Mr Acharya took a selfie of everyone standing united as a family. Each of them holding the Indian national flag, that they had got from the community hall as a return gift. And they screamed, “Happy Independence day!”

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