When the weather gods smiled (I-Day sidelights)

August 15th, 2012 - 2:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) The skies threatened to pour and security personnel were maintaining a strict no umbrella policy. But it was as if the weather gods had scripted the perfect day. The Independence Day function at Red Fort, the centrepiece of the country’s celebrations, went off without a hitch.

Due to security reasons, police had not allowed umbrellas inside the venue - cause for much concern for those gathered to hear Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deliver his address to the nation. But there was no rain, despite the overcast skies.

Clearly, apart from security personnel, school children and organisers, there was an invisible force contributing to the success of celebrations.

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Police on vigil, but relaxed

Delhi Police personnel had a rough morning - closely scrutinising every nook and cranny of the Red Fort premises and making sure that all was in order for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s speech. But they were also relaxed because the Ramdev agitation was over.

Police personnel had a strenuous day Monday when yoga guru Baba Ramdev along with thousands of his supporters started marching towards parliament. They were all detained and housed in Ambedkar Stadium Monday night.

Much to their relief, the crowds moved out on time and did not add to the law and order situation. The Ambedkar Stadium falls on the prime minister’s route to the Red Fort, and the place had to be cleared up.

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What a dump

It’s the same story, year after year. Empty packets of chips, chocolates, biscuits, fruit juices and banana peels were littered at the venue after the end of the celebrations.

The children, who reach the venue at 4.30 a.m., got refreshments immediately. But the garbage was carefully collected at one corner as the main event began only at 7 a.m. when the prime minister arrived.

By the time, the ceremony ended at 8 a.m., they were restless. They perked up when round two of the refreshments come around and by that time were apparently in no mood to listen to their teachers asking them to throw garbage in one corner.

The children who had gathered outside the main venue played and littered liberally. After some time, the teachers too turned a blind eye.

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The show stealers

For children at the Red Fort, the real show stealers were the balloons in saffron, white and green. They jumped on their seats, hooted and clapped as the balloons were released in the air just after the national anthem got over at the end of the event.

There were also giant white balloons, unfurling the tricolour as they rose towards the sky, captivating children and adults alike.

–Indo-Asian News service
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