Recently I got a chance to see the retreat ceremony at Wagah border. Wagah is a village in north India which was divided in two parts during Indo-Pak partition. Initially we all were in two minds to visit the place because of extremely hot weather and probability of rush but finally the consensus was made to go there. The journey started with high hopes of experiencing something new. First thing that we observed on reaching there was people, lot of people. Some enthusiastic about the ceremony, some doing their routine business of selling flags and dvds, some waiting for the passengers. Our taxi was parked and we decided to march ahead towards the Wagah gate. We had to pass through lot of rush and general security checks. We toppled and rippled through people and made some space in the stairway to have a good view of the ceremony. We were lucky to have few clouds, which helped in lowering the temperature. Credit goes to the prayers of my wife. Slowly the atmosphere started to build up with slogans like 'Vande Matram' and 'Hindustan Zindabad'. The whole Indian camp was packed and the Pakistan arena was waiting for more audience.
I was deeply moved by the realization that how the atmosphere and visible boundaries make you feel more Indian than just a human being. At one end there were Indians cheering for their countriy's pride and at the other end there were self centered individuals who came for sight seeing and fought with their own countrymen over trivial seating issues. It was a gathering of Proud Indians and intolerant human beings. The heat of summer was adding fuel to the atmosphere.
Finally the show started at 6:30 pm. It started with the roaring voice of the commander. Confident BSF women marched beautifully towards the gate. They were followed by the tall BSF Jawans who swirled their legs in the air like skilled marshal artists. After the parade and handshakes between Pakistani and Indian Soldiers the flags were lowered down, in perfect coordination, by both countries. The spectacle ended with thunderous applause from the people of both the countries.
All in all it was a pleasant evening for us where the nationalistic spirit remained unaffected by the rising mercury or huge gathering of fellow countrymen.