The rain pelted against the roof incessantly as the cold wind swept through the entire room. It was 7 in the morning, and all I wanted was to crawl back into the calm soothing hands of sleep and drift away to Wonderland unknown, but everyone else, fully awake, would have non of that. My little sister was going through that scary ‘ladies stuff’, you know that one that happens every month (still don’t know how they survive those periods), my younger brother, well, he was just being my younger brother, so I had to forfeit my moment of sweetness to make a breakfast, even though I had wished everyone would just starve. Now all I wanted was for the rain to cease. 

Realizing that the rain wouldn’t be stopping anytime soon, I had to use the umbrella, as I made my way down the street to visit the store where I would purchase some items for breakfast. Surprisingly, every shop remained close. Weird, I thought, because my street was such a bee hive, that by 6 in the morning, you could see everyone moving at a neck pace. Silently I hoped for an open store.

Still in search of this ‘Golden store’, I met a familiar face, and just before I could say “Hello”, he greeted, “Happy Independence Day”.

I looked around, realizing the trick was on me, I shook my head. So that was the reason why there were few people on the street. It was our Independence Day celebration. The familiar face quickly excused himself upon realizing I was lost in thoughts, and I couldn’t even recollect how I had walked back to the house without the umbrella shielding me.

56! That’s the number of years since we got our independence.

56! That’s the number of years we have been trying to get it right.

56! That’s the number of years we have been hopeful that it all gets better.

56! That’s the number of years we have been trying to build a nation.

56! That’s the number of years we have been trying to create a future.

56! That’s the number of years we have been trying to sell an image to the world.

And at 56, we are still trying.

People say this country is a great nation, people say this country has every right to be happy and Graceful. People say this is in rumbles and shambles, and people say this country is on a  spiral path down the drain. But in all these, I asked myself, “What do you say at 56”? As I sat on my bed, buried in thoughts, I couldn’t help but think, maybe by now we should have been better, maybe by now we should have gotten it right. Maybe by now we should have been great, maybe by now, we should be safer. But in all of these, as we morn the lives of those lost and those gone, I somehow cling tenaciously to the glimmer of hope that it is still not too late. And whether our hope comes sooner or later, and more lives be lost, our hope will come. For,  to delay is not to fail. Irrespective of whom and where our loyalty lies with, the hope is for all to say at the end of the day, “We got here because we never stopped trying”.

At 56, it may not be happy, but it is sure hopeful.


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