Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jay Hind !!

I live in a metropolis having population of approx 15 millions. I haven't exchanged so many "Happy Republic Day" there in a single day as I have within a couple of hours of this morning living with only 75 people at Maitri, Antarctica. How patriotic, nationalists and religious do we become! I realized it when I spent two years in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during 1982-84. We attended so many religious events at other Indians' homes in two years as never before in our lives; it is another matter that each such event gave an ample opportunity to the host to display his / her culinary skills, her newly acquired cooking set, table ware, electronic gadget or the latest from Bollywood. Invariably the evening would end with a game of playing cards. It was same with the national functions when we went to the Indian Embassy when most of us usually experienced an indifferent welcome there.

At Maitri there have been messages a galore from various departments, centres, and institutions involved in Antarctica expedition. There are messages from the Secretary as well as Minister of Ministry of Earth Sciences (Shri Kapil Sibal) too. All have applauded our courage etc and how proud they all have been of us.

The weather continues to be inclement; our international guests did not arrive. Even for snow vehicles the tracks are not too good. There are wide gaps in the snow cover due to rising of temperature in last few weeks. With so much of wind, the visibility can go down any time due to snow drift. Some of our team members, who had gone to the Novo airbase two days ago for extending invitation, had to spend the night there only. I am sure they did not have with change of scene and food.

Since early morning in Maitri lounge the music system was dishing out all patriotic songs from early 1950s to the latest Bollywood hits. It reminded me of All India Radio in the era of no FM and satellite TV. The flag hoisting had its lighter moments too when the Tricolour refused to oblige in the first attempt. It unfurled only in the second attempt. Blame it on Antarctica.

3 comments:

prabha matta said...

Very impressive work Sudhir! Yes, people become very patriotic when they leave India! That explains so-many Indian communities at every nook and corner of the world. Yesterday, my friend at Stanford University was describing the 'emotional and nostalgic' flag-hoisting event in their campus.

When I was reading your blog, I was remembering the movie 'The Vertical Limit'...drinking boiling water, wearing heaviest clothes, unable to speak bcoz of tremendous cold weather,literally slouching in their walk :) Btw, even Delhi is still cold inspite of it being the end of Jan. I remember going to last year's parade just in shawl!

mangesh said...

Jay Hind! Sudhir! I wish your blog all the best!!
Mangesh Nabar

Anonymous said...

Being an expatriate myself, that post almost made me cry. JAI HIND!

Senthilkumaran Muthuswamy
(Reno, Nevada, United States of America)