Overwhelmed with Tricolour spirit at the Indo-Pak border

By Arundhuti Banerjee

Attari, Aug 6 (IANS) It's time for Beating Retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan border in Wagah, and the vibrant air has an extra dash of anticipation. A few celebrities from Bollywood have gathered around, to attend the ceremony, and soak in the spirit of patriotism.

One spots Bharti Singh, Avika Gor, Aditya Narayan and Haarsh Limbachiyaa. They have arrived with the team of the TV game show "Khatra Khatra Khatra", to attend the ceremony and also film upcoming special episodes of the show for Independence Day in the process. They look proud as the drum beats roll, and emotional as they get to know of the lives of the Border Security Force (BSF).

The ceremony of the BSF soldiers starts after an audio-visual featuring the voiceover of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan. It is amazing to note how many patriotic songs have been rendered by Bollywood playback singers including Lata Mangeshkar, AR Rahman, Udit Narayan, and Sukhwinder Singh, among others. The playlist includes a wide range of songs, from "Jai ho", which won Rahman an Oscar, and "Maa tujhe salaam", Mangeshkar classic, "Ae mere watan ke logon".

It was a very special experience for Aditya when the songs of his father Udit Nayaran played and the whole stadium danced to the tune.

"Out of those 10 songs, I think six were my father's. So, yes I am not only proud to be here as an Indian, but also as a son," Aditya told IANS. "My father's songs are popular all over the world, but it is a special feeling to know that our BSF soldiers also listen to papa's songs," said Aditya, as notes of Udit's song "Aisa desh hai mera" wafted in the air.

"I feel so overwhelmed. I must say that every Indian should watch the Beating Retreat live here from Wagah border because of the energy of these BSF soldiers. This is an experience of a lifetime,"

The real-life couple of comedian Bharti Singh and screenwriter Haarsh Limbachiyaa loved interacting with the BSF jawaans.

"Today, when we were interacting with the BSF police and the live audience who were here to attend the ceremony, we felt so emotional. Of course, as common Indians we know how the BSF is protecting our nation, but when we personally interact with them, hear their experience, the experience is tearjerking," they said.

"Balika Badhu" famed actress Avika, who had to reschedule everything and fly down from Delhi to attend the ceremony along with the "Khatra Khatra Khatra" team said her father would not to let go of the opportunity to attend the occasion.

Recalling her childhood, Avika said: "My grandfather was in the Indian Air Force and therefore he always wanted me to see this ceremony at least once in my lifetime. I remember as a child I would sit next to him and watch it on TV on Independence Day, but somehow I never came here, to meet the BSF jawans and watch it live. When Bharti invited me for this special shoot, my father said, ‘just leave everything and go'. Now, I have tears of joy and pride. I have never felt this way."

The ceremony enters its last leg as we chat. The gates opens on both sides of the border -- India and Pakistan. The BSF and Pakistan Rangers flaunt their power in a choreographed manner. People from both sides shout out to express their love for their respective nations, with chants of "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Jevay Jevay Pakistan".

"After I left home to come here, I cried a lot for the first three months. I was away from my parents, and my phone was also not with me. Then, things changed the day I first wore the uniform," said one of the female BSF personnel.

She laughs and says she does not get access to all the latest Friday releases in the nearby theatres but they have their way of staying entertained.

"Whenever there is a cultural function, I participate in singing and dancing because I love these activities. We have a recreation club. Rest of the time, when off duty, I have my study so that I can sit for the exam and get promoted to the next level. Life is tough, yes, but we have earned everything -- the uniform, the responsibility to give everything to the nation so that our family stays safe. As a child I always thought I would do something that would make my family proud. Today, I am proud that I take care of not just my family. We are trained to believe that the entire nation is our family," she said.

The special episode will be aired from Aug 13 to Aug 15 on Colors TV.

--IANS

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