The 61st republic day parade at New Delhi on 26th January 2010:
I and my wife Priya sat quite when Dhruva (changed name) was explaining his experience about his visit of republic day parade at India gate few years back. It was a chilled night at New Delhi just before a night of 26th January.
Our fingers were searching some warm shelter in small pockets of our denims after travelling by a CNG auto rickshaw from New Delhi railway station for an hour. Dhruva’s house was warm but not enough to stop the irritation on my nose caused due to cold. We were tired because we travelled through Agra the previous day and reach New Delhi by a ‘four hours late super-fast’ train due-to heavy fog.
Initially I was a bit of sceptical about this blog when I decided to write it just before the event, i.e. around 24th or 25th January. Because of some feedback and blogs available about the arrangement done by some people who had been there long back, in some bygone years. Most effective reason was that it is a government function operated by most of the personals of Delhi police and some paramilitary forces in Delhi. But I was very firm about this blog that it must carry what exactly I would experience.
First of all, I would like to thank Mitu, my school friend who stays at south Delhi and who had made our trip a successful one by arranging right from gate passes to a cab.
Before the trip was planned, I was not sure that we would be in New Delhi for the holidays clubbed with week ends along with a Monday and a Tuesday i.e. 23rd to 26th Jan. Priya already applied for leave on 14th Jan for Makar sankranti which was a working day for her company. Anyway my company declared holidays for 14th, 25th and 26th as well because people normally ask for leave for these days due to festival and long weekend trips. So I asked Priya to postpone her leave till 25th so that we can plan for a short trip for a change.
Once Priya gave green signal about her leave on 25th I went to Ramu(our old train ticket broker) immediately for tickets to Agra and then New Delhi on 25th Jan from Agra. Because of the long weekend all trains were booked and reserved. Thanks to ministry of railway Govt. of India, for Tatkal service. (We can book tickets only before 2 days of journey) And Ramu is the best person for that. He has boys to stand in the long queue from early morning 4am in the winter season too.
Mitu booked 3 passes worth INR300 per ticket. These tickets can be found publicly only in few places in New Delhi like Pragati maidan, ITDC/DTDC offices etc from and before one month.
Well we were all set for the day very early and chill morning amidst of fog all around. Putting alarm in snooze for five minutes I called up Mitu. Though lately, he had collected all the necessary information how to get there and what are do’s and don’ts. We stayed near Ashram and Mitu booked a cab for us and picked us up around 8am. Speed of the vehicle was very slow due to low visibility. Our parking slot was at the South of Raj-Path, we entered the place from north and took a round about the President’s house near Gyara Murti and Tin-murti (11 statues and 3-statues) to reach the allotted parking place.
Mobile phones, camera and all other electronic devises are not allowed. We left all our belongings inside the car itself. We went through a tight security check. The reserved seats are just at 5 mins walking distance from the parking place.
The seats were half wet and dirty due to water droplet formation because of cold. We left the seat back and went to carpet where most of such people who were not able to seat were seating. It is hardly 5 meters from the road where the marching cavalry was passing by from the place we sat.
The show started with the arrival of the president (Dr Pratibha Patil) and the chief guest (South Korean President) at 9:30am. Priya was so excited like all other people in the crowd when the president was waving at us from a very small distance. She was trying to connect herself to every event and display on the Raj-Path. Like the president is a Lady, so being a lady she also can’t deny if any body offers her that post.. :-)); Lot of electrical engineers like her is working for DRDO and DARE, some of the prestigious defense organization in the country. Even in cultural displays from Maharastra, Karnataka, Mijoram etc, she was able to connect herself very successfully.
In a nutshell it was a brilliant performance by various organizations and defence establishments arranged by the Govt. of India on that road. Award recitation for the bravery awards of soldiers and Kids was awesome and brought hairs stand on skin with feelings. A true feeling of being Indian. The show was ended with air-force flights drill.
But the way Dhruva explained his experience about another republic day is very unfortunate. There could be some flaws just like not following the instructions properly stated before. I met some people who failed to locate the parking place for there reserved place and some people who just was not able to find the entrance walking around and spending time. All entrances are closed before the show starts with the national anthem. Hopefully, now things are optimized and improved in all aspects like crowed management, road directions, timings etc as it has crossed 60 long years.
So my suggestions to the people who want to go there effortlessly are:
1. Book 300 Rs confirmed tickets; you will get a good place to seat, nearer to the stage.
2. Book a cab and reach before time, so that you have some buffer time, if you lost in the road because of fog or other things. Don’t try to walk and find the entrance, because it is a very big area and not walk able in short span of time.
3. Read the instructions and the Map provided with the ticket. When you book ticket tell the person from which road you will enter, they will book you parking place accordingly.
All together it was a nice experience for me, Priya and Mitu. I have recommended some of my friends who are staying in Delhi and have not visited the Republic day parade. My point of view is that every Indian should see the show once in their lives as Islam wants every Muslims to be there once at Mecca.