Friday, August 17, 2007

60th Year of Indian Independence in Singapore

It was about 8 pm something on 14th august when I got a call from Yogendra who asked me if I wanted to join for Independence day celebration at the Indian High commission in Singapore. I have been out of India for past 6+ years, but I had not been for independence celebration for some or the other reason. Anyway, this time it was serious and somehow I was excited about attending. Finally, we were 7 of us who met at Somerset MRT, which is the closest MRT to the Indian High Commission, located at Grange Road.

The event started off at 8:30 am and we were just to arrive when the announcements started off. It was almost like being in India, since all the people around us were in traditional Indian clothes & holding Indian Tricolor which looked very attractive seeing it after long time. The other reason to feel like being in India was the Anchor person for the event being a Punjabi gentlemen, who had a very typical accent and somehow it was sounding little funny to the ears. The event started off with the flag hoisting ceremony, followed by our National Anthem. The chief guest for the occasion were none other than the Indian High Commissioner of Singapore (Dr S Jaishankar) & his wife.

The high commissioner then read the President's speech made by the new president of India, Shrimati Pratibhatai Devisingh broad casted the previous evening.

We were hearing this for the first time since there was no direct telecast of the same in any of the Indian channels in Singapore. I was troubled by the noise next to us, by youngsters who were mostly in their 20's who showed enthusiasm in attending the celebration, but didn't have any respect in listening quietly to the speech that was being read. I could not help but go to the group and ask them to keep quiet and understand the importance of giving respect to someone important like the High commissioner and the speech that he was reading of a person who is the 1st person of our country.

The speech was pretty generic, while stressing on the need for us all to give our efforts to get India ahead in all sectors of industries. Agriculture being one of the important areas of focus again which is the major industry in our country. The contribution by the Indians staying abroad has also being playing a major role in building a brand for Indians and Indian services.

There was good news for the people in Singapore which was shared by the High Commissioner - 1) The Visa services is going to be outsourced which will result in smaller queues and faster processing of visas for foreigners intending to travel to India in the next 1 month or so.

2) The passport services are also planned to be outsourced to avoid delays in getting new passports or other related services.

There are other areas which are also going to be implemented to improve the services provided by the embassy & shall be declared soon.

The most interesting step taken towards the change is the renovation of the embassy office & revamping of the website. I have seen it and it really looks good. I would like to congratulate the people behind this and would encourage them to better themselves further.

After this speech, there were couple of performances by Temple of Fine Arts - which were really good. This was followed by performance by boys and girls from DPS International School. The music was so loud for the first performance, that the voices were not audible and we went in and informed the event organisers to rectify the issue. After these performances there was one more performance by two small girls who sang " Kar chale ab Fida jaan tan saathiyo .. ab tumhare havale vatan saathiyo... which reminded me of the Fauji Bhaiyon ki Farmaish program which is telecasted on the Vivid Bharti.

The event came to an end with the snacks which were provided & led to a chaos and a scene one could only see in india- Nobody standing in queue, no discipline & everyone was eager to get to the snacks & have to the fullest. This is the only time I felt real sad to see the same problem that we still have in India due to the population which leads to a confusion and bad picture of us as Indians in not maintaining discipline. I guess, that's what we call getting Indian experience staying out of india. The snacks were very filling - the items being served were Chola Batura, Samosa, Chutni to go with & Jalebi. They were served hot & were very delicious.

Well we all felt good after this event and started talking about who all will be here to attend the event next year.

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