Tag Archives: India

Indian Independence Day August 15th

Seventy-one years ago my sister Shanthi and I alongside our cousins, were allowed to stay up until midnight to hear the celebration on the radio of The Birth of a New Nation, an Independent India.

The National Anthem blasted over the radio at Midnight. I sang along, as best as I could at seven years old. I don’t think I knew all the words. But I remember my little heart pounding with pride as my father cheered on.

The next day we watched the Independence Day Parade at the Pangode Military Base, not too far from town. We were handed little Tricolor flags of a free India to wave as the Parade passed by the viewing stands.

In the year previous to this event, Mahatma Gandhi had tried his level best to avoid splitting “India” into the two countries of India and Pakistan. In support of Mahatma, my father, photographer Sivaraam, who was an ardent Gandhian follower, posted these tableaux in the local paper as an illustration to keep the two countries together. With the relief of an United India-Pakistan in the background, I donned a Nehru-cap and touted the Indian flag, while Shanthi had the Muslim salwar-kameez outfit and the flag of Pakistan. The accompanying article pleaded with our leaders not to split the two countries.

While both attained freedom from the British rule, history has shown the united nation was not meant to be.

1947 Shaku holding Indian flag and Shanthi the Pakistan flag

Freedom fight, 1946-1947
On the relief of an United India-Pakistan country, Shaku wearing a Nehru-cap holding an Indian flag, and Shanthi with the Muslim Salwar-Kameez outfit holding a Pakistani flag. This was the local town’s appeal to avoid splitting the two Nations. It did not come to fruition.

Night-blooming Cereus

Night-blooming Cereus, May 22, 2015

Tonight around 9:00 P.M. two blooms appeared on my Night blooming Cereus. Perfect white petals arranged in three layers started opening about 8:00 P.M., and the bold –faced flowers, eight inches in diameter swung gracefully from ten inch long stalks which arose from the very edge of one leaf each. They look like they would drop to the floor any minute. However, each flower stayed attached while spreading an unique fragrance which filled the room.

This took me back to when I was ten years old, when the Cereus in my home in Trivandrum, India bloomed, maybe two or three times a year. There, in the subtropics it bloomed at around 11:00 P.M. All the children stayed up late to see the rare sight. In my home here, the farther North I am, and with the daylight saving time changes, the opening time of these flowers also vary. On the occasions they open in the fall, it happens later, like at 10:00 P.M. onwards.

Shaku flower 3 Shaku Flower 2 Shaku Flower 1

Just as we who moved North adjusted to the movements of the Sun, the Cereus, or (the “Night-blooming Lily” as we used to call it,) also varied its habits of blooming.

Tomorrow the flowers will dangle listless and damp-looking, all the wild white energy spent. The fragrance will linger for another twenty-four hours. That is it. Until more buds appear next month or next spring, whenever that happens.

Shaku Rajagopal

May 22nd, 2015