It was a primarily female audience, mothers, daughters, friends, who had decided to catch the morning show of English Vinglish. There were teenaged, giggling girls, elderly women with walking sticks, young mothers, and chiffon clad grandmothers. The excited girls in the row ahead of mine were practicing whistling ----- Sridevi's come back deserved to be thus welcomed, they said.
Having settled down with a coffee to enjoy the movie, I was a little taken aback when I heard the request to all movie patrons to stand up for the National Anthem. Plonking my coffee on the floor, I rose to my feet, as did my mother and many others, some with alacrity, some a little slowly as they struggled to their feet. There were some in the audience, however, who remained seated -----the young girls who had been rather loud and vociferous before the announcement was made.
I am still trying to comprehend why this happened. Is it because schools and colleges have almost completely stopped playing the national anthem during the daily/periodical assembles so that the sheer force of habit no longer works in the case of our school/college going youth? Is it because there is a marked decline in the sense of pride in being an Indian? Is it because there is a growing tendency among youth to disobey/ignore directions, no matter what the nature of the direction?
Whatever the reason, it saddened me to be a witness to such indifference to the national anthem. There are experiences which never fail to stir the heart ----a rendition of the national anthem is one of them if one learns love and regard for it in early childhood.Even as we spend huge amounts of money, time and effort educating our children, let us also make an effort to inculcate in them respect for the national anthem, an inalienable part of our identity.