Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Happy Republic Day!"

Today is Republic Day –  India’s national holiday commemorating the date it declared itself a republic (creative name, huh?).  The highlight of the holiday is a large cultural/military parade each year in New Delhi that displays the power of the Indian armed forces while showcasing a float (or other equivalent parade entry) from each of the country’s 28 states or territories to promote the country’s considerable diversity.

When we were here five years ago, we attended the parade with two of our American co-workers that spoke Hindi  (even though English is the official language of the Indian government, the parade is broadcast in Hindi – let’s just assume they distance themselves from their colonial past on this day).  My favorite memory of the parade was their translation of the description of a missile in the lineup surrounded by marching soldiers (I’m paraphrasing here, cut me some slack, it was a long time ago…though I’d guarantee my friend Mohammed still remembers it verbatim), “With our newest weapon, there will be no invader left untouched and all of India’s enemies will wilt at our considerable might”…followed four minutes later by a float promoting tourism circled by traditional dancers from the state of Arunachal Pradesh.   You just don’t see that kind of variety in the Rose Parade.

Unfortunately, they seal the border between Haryana (the state where we live) and Delhi at 11:30pm the night before the holiday, so there was to be no parade this year for the Luth’s (it’s also the type of thing you’re happy to see once, much like any other parade).  How did we celebrate instead?  Working from the hotel!
This year’s highlight included Lindsay greeting members of the hotel staff with a hearty, “Happy Republic Day!” followed by them looking at her quizzically, smiling awkwardly, and responding, “Uh…yes…happy Republic Day, Ma’am.”

I witnessed this exchange no fewer than six times.  It became no less awkward (or funny) with any of those times.

In other Republic Day news, we learned this evening that our apartment lease has been finalized and that we will likely move on Saturday.  We had a walkthrough of the unit on Monday; not only was the property manager sporting a sweet Cincinnati Bengals sweatshirt, but the apartment looked really nice.   Both Lindsay and I were a little scared that we would walk in, find the place in shambles, and either spend hours fighting the landlord or hours cleaning; fortunately, the place looked move-in ready.

The true adventure begins this weekend.


  1. Hope the move-in goes well! Enjoy!

  2. Ah, just getting caught up on the blog...this is absolutely fantastic! I was laughing out loud through many points getting the visual picture/situation EXACTLY as you are describing and remembering similar instances just a few months ago! Can't wait to hear about the move....I am sure it will be flawless :)