This morning I was dead tired and was pushing myself to stay awake till 12.00 Noon. They were airing Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi on TV today. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
While watching the movie, more than once I had to wipe away tears and more than once I felt that proverbial lump in the throat. Perhaps, I will never understand the enormity of the freedom struggle and some tears were the most I could shed. Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of India’s greatest champion of peace was simply stunning and it is an emotional exercise to watch the movie. And yes, you too, will feel that lump in the throat. Gandhi does that to you.
But the reason I am writing this is not to eulogise Gandhi or the Movie, it’s an event that transpired when watching the movie is what inspired me to write this.
I was watching the movie with my Mom and my Maid arrived (finally!). She went about her with chores brusquely and sat down to drink some tea. She saw that we both were intently watching the movie and she too joined us.
“Aaj kaa din kuch toh hai naa?” She asked my Mom. Isn’t today some special day?
“Haan, Gandhi Jayanti hai.” Mother replied. Yes, it’s Gandhi Jayanti.
“Nahin Nahin, Gandhi Jayanti nahin kuch aur bhi hai..” Not, Gandhi Jayanti, something else..
“Ahan! Aaj Ramzaan Eid hai.. Mussalmanon kaa” Mother said helpfully. Oh Yes, it’s Ramzaan Eid for the Muslims today.
Naah! Voh toh maloom hai. Aur bhi kuch hai… She wondered aloud. No, I know that too. It’s something else.
I was seriously interested in the conversation now.
“Aaj phir.., Lal Bahadur Shastri kaa bhi Janamdin hai…voh pooch rahe ho kyaa tum?” Mom asked. Today is Lal Bahadur Shastri’s birthday as well. Is that what you’re asking?
“Haan! Shastri…Shastri!! voh ich yaad kar rahi thee main. Maloom hai sab mereko.. bas bolne ko aata nahin hain.” She replied cheerfully. Oh Yes! Shastri! I just couldn't get the name right.
Then came her punch line.
“Toh aaj uske liye kyaa hai?” She asked. So, how is that celebrated?
I was wide eyed. And My Mom Speechless.