It was with this speech on this day, 60 years ago that India was awarded its independence as a democratic, sovereign,secular, and republic country.
It's on this day, every year that most Indians feel the sudden urge to be patriotic and jingoistic. Some do it with hoisting flags outside their homes, others do it by making their children dress up as Pandit Nehru, while still others do it by going for Independence day parties, getting intoxicated and taking the concept of independence to an entirely new level.
I felt this urge as well. So come the 13th of August, like every year that has gone by,I too made plans of singing the anthem and hoisting a flag on my balcony. Even more so, as this would be our 60th anniversary. The momentous celebration like every year however, would no doubt be short lived, with the flag making its way back to the attic on the morning of the 16th without fail.
I then got a sms from Vijay(Of Proto.in fame), which went something on the lines of "Hey, a bunch of us are planning to fix all the potholes in the city as part of independence day, Would you like to join us?" Knowing the bloke,I knew only he could be crazy enough to send that message and actually mean it.
At 10pm, he and Mahesh, an architect mate of his along with a team of 10 individuals got together on the Velachery bridge in South West Chennai and using cement, concrete and a truck started attacking one pot-hole after another. I joined them at 1 AM, and these are some of the sights I saw.
Everyone seemingly chipped in, the industrious ones got their hands dirty with filling the concrete and cement.
While the not so industrious ones like me, helped out with diverting the traffic, identifying new pot-holes to attend to and providing refreshments.
Very soon, as we progressed, open pot-holes which looked like this,
were very soon beginning to look like this.
By 7AM, a total of 40 pot-holes were 'Fixed'.There was another group of individuals headed by set out on the same mission in another part of the city.The two groups tackled drunken drivers, killer mosquitoes and over inquisitive policeman while successfully tending to over 80 pot-holes across the city. Quite an achievement for one night, I'd say.
The group which orchestrated this is titled 'I-Fixed' and believes in the maxim that the best way to fix a problem is to actually go ahead and fix it yourself. In the next few months, the group plans to do their bit to address other local issues which they find consensus on.
As much as this might sound like another Lok Paritrana initiative, another NGO or another social service community, it really isn't. It's just a bunch of individuals, who complain a little more than everyone else, and have finally decided to do something about it. The initiative might succeed, it might fail, it might spawn a revolution across the country, it might be the last such effort, who knows. What's important is that we tried , atleast now we will have some sort of an answer to that voice in the back of our heads which asks, " So, what have you done to address the problem?".
The sight of seeing the logo shining in the night sky, next to every pot-hole we covered simply made the whole experience worth it.
Oh! And before I forget, here's wishing you all a very happy independence day!
P.S Do log onto the wiki here, if you are interested in joining the group.