Thursday, January 30, 2014

Republic Day

26 January is "Republic Day" in India. It's a major holiday across the nation commemorating the day the Indian Constitution came into effect in 1950. Modern School (where I am trying to be of use as a volunteer) invited us to be the "Chief Guest" (Lon) and the "Guest of Honour" (Sue) for the occasion. (Photos here are screen shots from videography by Wide Video Vision of Vapi.)

The occasion always starts with a flag raising.
That's confetti flying as the flag was unfurled. Lon did the honors here.
A military-style parade followed.

The main dais held guests, trustees, and the principals. In addition to the dais, there was a stage set up for the performers, and a smaller platform for alumni who were being honored ("felicitated" is the Indian term) for having successfully completed university programs in engineering, medicine, and business.

The students sat on the lawn. Teachers and parents had chairs along the sides. Note that as at most times in India, boys and girls were in separate groups.

The program included plenty of performances.
One of three groups that sang during the program.
Older girls gave a spirited dance.
While the younger girls gave an impressive demonstration of yoga.
The boys got into the act by making several styles of human pyramids.
A skit showing that the Modern School admits good students regardless of their ability to pay. (Modern School was started to provide an education to the poorest in Vapi, and places particular emphasis on educating girls.)
But without a doubt, the scene-stealers for us were the "mascots" that roamed the grounds, acting much like jesters. You can see in the photo above, that the elephant (in gray) could never stand still. The horse can also be seen behind the stage in the skit photo. Other characters included a leopard, a lion, a tiger, and a bear (or was it a gorilla? -- black and hairy and hard to figure out).
Eventually, you have to get to the serious stuff. Lon and I both gave short speeches.

Lon and I were both presented with beautiful shawls -- but I had the better "photo op".

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