Simpler joys of Independence Day

Islamabad - As the sound of fireworks ring through the air, one should also look to the less-extravagant displays of Independence Day celebrations and revel in the smaller joys. The simple ritual of pinning a green and white badge to one’s clothes or backpack, or stopping at a flag stand can feel extraordinary.

Similarly, the ordinary act of adorning the hood of one’s car in national colours or attaching a flag to the back of one’s motorbike can feel thrilling.

As a nation, we have come a long way in the last 70 years. It is not easy to ascertain whether this tumultuous journey has been for better or for worse. But we must remember that although things look bleak at times, it is on days like this that we must stand together, reminisce what deserves remembrance and commemorate the astounding acts of sacrifice by our leaders.

Our elders, who are an eyewitness to the struggle for independence, are somber and often disappointed by the way things are going politically, socially, and economically.

The millennials, on the other hand, are often nonchalant, and have little regard for patriotism.

The parents are tired of hoping for some sort of stability. Strolling through the city, it is truly heartening to see children dragging their parents to flag stands, buying trumpets or streamers for their own 14th August celebrations at home.

As the big day draws near, preparations seem to be in full swing.

“Although last year we had record sales, they are going good this year too. The political situation is one reason for a lesser number of people in the bazaars. However, most customers prefer to visit in the evening when the weather is better, ” Mohammad Tanveer, a salesman at a flag stand, said to The Nation.

They sell an assortment of Independence Day accessories including flags, badges, masks, wristbands, and trumpets. Tinted glasses, shirts streamers, wigs are also part of the merchandise being sold on these stalls. Primary schoolers ride their bicycles to these stands in search for sparklers, all up to mischief. The salesman turns them away and they trot off, continuing their search elsewhere.

Tanveer further said, “The flags that we sell are mostly manufactured in China, with a very few of them made locally. Originally, I work in the flower business and provide a variety of services at different marquees. During these months, when the business is not so good, we take up odd jobs like this one. It requires us to take several permissions from the Police Department and the CDA [Capital Development Authority] and then we set up shop here, every year on August 1st.”

This salesman points to a police car which he placed a flag on, two days ago. The sight of the car parked on the side of the road, with flag-adorned trees at the back, makes for a scenic view.


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