CELEBRATION

He had never wanted to stand all day in the blazing heat of the early-noon sun, but when he was called out he queued up obediently as he  had done all those months ago when he first arrived there. White shirts, clean, crisp and reflecting the burning light into other eyes around him were all crowded up, little soldiers awaiting their turn to fling down their weapons and let loose the doves of peace. Everywhere silence reigned around him, a heavy sheet lifting and dropping onto the crowds.
They even forgot about the blaze above them.
Even forgetting their playmates, their compatriots.

Little flags in the image of the one they all beheld, majestically battling the currents of hot air, were waved by little hands in the crowd.

A maroon center, a snarling lion raising his sword in triumph, having won all the battles his beautiful nation had to go through. He was their champion, their guardian, and his sightless eye put a chill through the minds of all who beheld him.
Fluttering in tune with the chorus of prayers, the flag kept flying. No birds were in that sky this morning. It and its partner would fly unhindered by any of nature’s punishments. The air itself was made today for celebration. Some higher powers that the boy would never understand, had breathed down onto the institution today.

A powerful master.

The prayers were all unto Him.
Four faiths, one master to watch over all that was fading and mortal.

Again the little boy looked at the crowd around him. Prayers to the nation swelling from devoted hearts. Applause from everywhere he stood. Teachers standing sentinel over their little students, chiding occasionally and advising at times whenever something went wrong.
He had never really thought why all this would be necessary. The most oft-repeated words at the gathering were “Freedom”, “God” and “Independence”. What these were, he couldn’t know now. Maybe sometime later.
All he knew was that there was both happiness and sorrow in the vast crowd of thousands. Happiness that once upon a time, the chains of slavery had been melted away to create one land of thinkers, a land of greats who would rise up to any challenge, to extend their claws like a vicious lion on the hunt. But also to draw away and rest like the great cat would at the end of the deadly race, all the while bearing his noble majesty.
This was where he was born. This would be where he would love, learn, fight, play and run, with the countless others that stood beneath the two flags that made them family.
One bearing the lion warrior’s crest.
The other one blue, slashed in black.

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6 thoughts on “CELEBRATION”

  1. This is a mix of what you feel for your school and I country, I think. And while we sometimes hate, and feel so much anger towards our nation, at the end of the day, we still love it. And just as a kid who has to color the lion flag as a school project or assignment, even now, seeing the flag against a clear blue sky, you love Sri Lanka. You are proud to be Sri Lankan.

    This could also be because we had no say over what nation we wanted to be born in. Its not like I could have chosen to be born in a 'better' country. And since what we mostly see of other countries is through movies and books, we can't really compare our country with another. And we shouldn't too.

  2. Well in that case, we are all-though we don't really know it, proud to be Sri Lankan, simply because of the long history of the place and the vibrancy of the cultures that mingle together in it. This whole story is actually based on the Independence Day celebration assembly that we had in school, and I saw so many little lower school kids.

    Was inspired to write this after seeing them.

  3. I really adore this short story which has been written in a way that arouses genuine feelings of patriotism. It reminded me of the effect those school assemblies had on us; how our hearts would swell with love for our country and our fellow countrymen; how we’d promise ourselves to do the best for our country as we sang our beloved national anthem… It was nice to recount those memories.

    The description of the flags was noteworthy: how you tell that they “majestically battled the currents of hot air” and the way you describe the lion in the centre of the flag.

    “This would be where he would love, learn, fight, play and run, with the countless others that stood beneath the two flags that made them family.”- Beautiful ending!!

  4. True, it may be hidden, but all of us have a special place in our heart for Sri Lanka. And yes, the “long history of the place and the vibrancy of the cultures that mingle together in it” must be a reason.

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