The Republic Day Parade Rehearsal – Rajpath, New Delhi

Avinash uncle invited us to see the full-dress rehearsal of republic day parade.

The invitation card

We went to Connaught place by blue line metro. At Connaught place, we changed to yellow line for the central secretariat. When we reached out of the station we saw that there was fog everywhere. Avinash uncle came by car to take us to his house. We slept there at night.

I woke up early to get ready for the mock parade. A jeep came to take us to the VIP zone at Rajpath. We walked around one km from the place the jeep left us. At parade ground there were two security checks.

After security checks we reached the place where seating arrangement was done. It was heavy fog in the morning. Chairs were all wet. Luckily we took a cloth and a newspaper to wipe it. After wiping the chairs we were able to sit on them. We were lucky. When we reached there, many chairs were vacant. Soon it was all filled.

First came the prime-minister and then the president arrived. They were not the real president and prime-minister; they were someone else (it was a mock parade). I liked the cars of prime-minister and president. After president, the bodyguards of president came on horses. Avinash uncle told us that they are called ‘THE GUARDS’. The national flag was hoisted and BOOM-BOOM cannon shots were fired to salute the Flag and national anthem was sung. In total, twenty-one cannon salutes were given. They were loud and vibrated all of my body.

Rashtrapati Bhawan

Rashtrapati Bhawan

Then the parade started. The fog started to clear with it. There were several regiments with their bands – The Sikh Regiment, the Gorkha regiment, ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Boarder police), Army, Navy, Air force and many more … There also came the parade of the old people who have retired.

I liked the Air force dress very much. They were not wearing any cap. The dress and the cap of army were like tree. So when the enemy attacks they are not able to find that they were people or the trees.

The parading troops were moving their hands. They were raising their legs up very high. When they came in front of us, the taps of their shoes was great.

The commanders of the music bands were juggling their sticks, throwing it in the air and catching them cleanly. It was their way of saluting. Then the battalion of BSF came on camels. They fight in the Thar Desert at the border of India. Following them were the cleaners to clean the road :-)

THe glittering parliament house

Then the Arjun Tank came. It had a gun that can revolve 360 degree. It can also move up and down. I asked my Papa, “They moved so slowly, how will they fight in battlefield”? Avinash uncle told us that they were slow in the parade only. They can move as fast as 72 Km per hour.

Then came the jet fighter plane – Tejas. And then a big, fat and very long missile – Agni. Its attack range is 6500 Km. Then a long slender missile “Shaurya” came. It is mobile and can be carried everywhere and launched from a moving vehicle. Then a truck with many missile launchers came. I asked my Papa – “How many missiles it can launch at a time”. He corrected me that it launches rockets and not missiles. It can launch 12 rockets at a time. Then came a tanker. It can fire 500 shots in one minute. They announced that when these shots land, they go deep inside the earth.

It was followed by the exhibits of many states and ministries. Rajasthani exhibit had Jantar-Mantar with face of Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur. I thought it was Maharana Paratap. Chattisgarh showed caves all surrounded by water. I liked it very much. Bihar’s exhibit showed the Silk-worm and people were doing weaving and spinning. One exhibit had a steam engine with Durant AC coaches. It went in front of us with the voice of chuk-chuk -kooo. I thought of my younger brother Tanmay shouting with joy – Coco. He calls train Coco :-) That day he could not come with us, he is too young.

Janpath: Tiranga can be seen at the end of the road

I liked the exhibit of Maharashtra. They showed people packing the lunch boxes. They were singing “Mumbai kaa dabbewaala, Mumbai kaa daabewaala …”. I esp liked a fat man who was packing and delivering lunch boxes in full masti.
Now the parade was over.

I asked Papa, “Papa, last year there were motorcycle stunts as well”. Immediately,I saw everyone was standing up. There was a biker standing on his motorcycle and driving his bike. Then after that a biker came he was standing on a pole and balancing his bike. Last bike stunt had thirty-two bikers on five bikes, moving like a wall. Watching motorcycle stunts there was very different from watching it on TV. It was very good.

In the end the air-show started. Three fighter planes flew over us. The middle one of them had radar on top. Avinash uncle told us that it was a mid-air refueling capability. Then three fighter planes came. They all went straight, and then vertical and made a loop. Phew!

In the end from three different places, many, many gas balloons went high up in the sky. These were green, white and orange in color. It was very beautiful.

A close-up of south block

We were all hungry and thirsty. We were not allowed to take even water inside. When we were walking towards Avinash uncle’s house we bought and drank water and Butter-scotch milk, and ate cream-roll and a toffee. We then went to Avinash uncle’s house by bus. There, first I ate Aloo-Parantha and then me and Avinash uncle ate our favorite home-made “Gond kaa Ladoo”.

Delicious! A tasty end to a thrilling day.

I wrote it very hurriedly because I wanted to publish it before Republic day. Wish you all a very Happy Republic day.

17 Comments

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Dear Rachit,

    Congratulations to you and your mummy for finishing and publishing this post just at the right time.

    This comment is going to be very big. There is a flow of emotions with your post. When we were kids, two days used to be a great day for us – 15th August and 26th January. Your grandmother used to give us our only pocket money that started from 50 Paisa to 5 rupees in the end. It was mandatory for us to go to school that day and present in school for school functions. These two are great days for India and we Indians are proud of them. We have got these days after many hardships, so we must recognize their value and respect our country, national flag and love our fellow citizens.

    This new year I visited Avinashs home. Just during the normal chit-chat, I asked Avinash, why dont you plan to take the family A caring wife and two adorable daughters to 26th Jan parade. I told him that it would be a life time experience for them. At that time Avinash, casually said, I will see and the discussion ended.

    On 19th Jan, I got his call; Mannu I have arranged the passes and come we will all go together. After discussing a lot, we decided that it will not make much sense to take Tanmay without water and food to the parade and Jaishree decided to back out. I was in dilemma, even a day before, its very foggy and cold. Will it make sense to go to the parade? I called Avinash and his straight reply was dont think over it, you have to come.

    Avinash has once participated in 26th Jan republic day parade and I would like to share his emotions as well. They are worth sharing. He was telling in detail what goes in the mind of a person who is participating in the parade. When the troops sees its citizen cheering them, the body gets straightened, the chest came forward and the legs start moving up. Most of the exhibits stop at Rajpath, but the troops of the forces marches for around 19km till they reach the red fort. On the way many RWAs have esp arrangements for them. Citizens and kids cheer them, at some places flowers are showered on them. It brings mix of emotions, emotions of pride and love for the fellow citizens. I let Avinash to add. Its so good to hear it in his own words.

    At the security checks, the security personnel dont allow mobile phones, camera, water and any eatable. It is advisable not to take anything. We must understand that when they throw water or eatable (that most of the time is meant for small kids), they do it with heavy hearts. But they have to do it. Its question of our security and as Avinash rightly put in Security there is never a place of trust. Trust leads to security lapses.

    On the slanted pathway near our seat, on the makeshift way there was a gap. And as soon as the army personnel passed throgh it and saw it. Almost all of them tried to lift it and fix it. They dont believe in just saving themselves but in curing the problems. Finally when they realized that it was not getting fixed, one of them stood there permanently to warn anyone moving from there.

    It was proud to see the six foot Sikh regiment followed by much smaller in height men of Dogra regiment small in height yet the deadliest one.

    And the pride was visible in everyone even in the camels that were so colorfully decorated and carried the BSF personnel with pride. From the announcement I came to know that the camel has natural wipers in his eyes. There is a thin layer that does not allow the sand to enter in the eyes, and I always thought that its camels leg that make it an animal of desert. Another worth mentioning pageant was that of Tripura. And then I came to know that my favourite SD Burman was from Tripura. It was such a pleasure to hear his songs of Bandini on Rajpath.

    A great day, great feelings. Thanks Avinash :-) and thanks Rachit for sharing it too.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Rachit,

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience.

    Happy Republic day to you , your family & all Ghumakkars.

  • Avinash Dubey says:

    Dear Chunmun,

    I don’t know wot to say and in fact I am mesmerised by the thought making process, you as a little kid is blessed with. Writing is a wonderful way of expression and you are rightly taking forward the legacy of your parents in an apt way. My best wishes are there and will remain with you in all your future endeavours. Now the interesting part is to write something from my side and I am surely not going to do it in hurry. Will take some time and will come back. Till then happy writing and reading. God bless and a HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY to you and all Indians.

  • Siddhant says:

    very nicely written……….

  • Patrick Jones says:

    I waited for the Day to read your post and read it with all the pride of being an Indian. Your description brought the day alive. Being there experiencing the parade is truly exhilarating.

    Happy Republic Day!

  • Nice one Rachit. Manish sir, bachha sahi likh raha hein :)

    This reminds me the rehearsal I saw by chance few years back while going to the railway station and we were stopped for about an hour due to the rehearsal.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Manish,

    No doubt that Rachit is very talented. In his age observing the things in such a great depth & then presenting it is a remarkable job.

  • nandanjha says:

    Rachit – good show. It must have been a different fun to wake up so early and witness the Parade with such close quarters. I wanted to first give some credit to Manish and Jaishree for making this happen but I guess it was all because of you.

    When Manish gets his Ghumakkar bag (I know I know its delayed like anything but now they have arrived), I dont see a reason why you would not hijack it. You truly earn it Rachit.

  • Rachit Khamesra says:

    Thank you Nandan.

    When I woke up, everybody said get ready fast because the parade was about to start in one hour. I was able to see parade only because of Avinash uncle. I enjoyed watching the parade not on the television but going in front of me.

  • The post has been updated with the night pictures of Rashtrapati Bhavan, Sansad Bhavan, Janpath and south block.

    Thanks to Avinash, who specially gave it to Rachit for the article.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    So six years, Rachit. How does it feel to read this story again ? :-)

    I felt as much proud as I would have when I read 6 years back. Hope you are having a good time in your new city. Wishes.

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