It didn’t make any difference that NYC celebrated India’s Independence Day a few days late. The turn out was enormous and the mood jubilant. Just as I arrived, the entertainment was well under way. A large stage was erected on Madison Ave., directly behind Madison Square Park. It was impossible to get near the stage at this point but I didn’t mind as there was so much activity going on behind the stage and in the park too.
It was a charming co-mingling of Indian culture with a dab of Americana stirred up in the ever simmering melting pot of NYC. Things are changing very rapidly in India but for the most part physical affection is not displayed in public. The photograph above, Patriotic Love, captures these rebels embracing the freedom of the West yet also displaying their pride in their roots with the flag at their side.
Just like in India, many wore the colors of the Indian flag.
I got to see many of the different acts getting ready to perform. Their excitement was palpable.
Everywhere the eye could see were bright swathes of vibrant color, quite unlike the typical drab New Yorker’s penchant for black and muted hues. Truly a fitting tribute to summer’s grand finale with all the flowers in the park in full blossom, mirroring the radiance.
The onlookers were just as interesting as the performers.
I was hoping to treat myself to some tasty Indian snacks but I was very disappointed. There were no snack vendors as in the past. There was free food. It looked like pulau and kulfi but the crowds and lines were too much for me to even consider so I wandered into the park and celebrated Indian Independence Day with a luscious Shroom burger at the Shake Shack, fitting indeed!
The message behind all our independence days is that they came at a very high price and requires cherishing because in the blink of an eye, those hard-won freedoms can evaporate. Jai Hind! Jai NYC!