It's the 72nd Independence Day since the British finally decided to call it quits on us is upon us.
However, with most of us, the adults, planning on sleeping in without really paying too much attention to Independence Day as a whole anymore, we decided to take things back to when it did with a couple of things some, or most of us can relate to regarding this special day.
With Independence Day right around the corner, it will be your schools duty to try to impart on your tiny brain as much knowledge about the colonisers and all the heroes to whom our Indpendece from the dratted white people is owed to.
So, if you're anything like me, when the day finally comes through, your head was probably a muddle of Ponnambalam Ramanathans and Weera Puran Appus.
One thing we can all pretty much relate to as a childhood memory in terms of Independence Day is watching the parade. Your whole family infront of the TV, your mother talking about how nice some ministers wife's sari is and someone else gushing over the horses while you get tea on almost every person who steps out of a car; watching the independence day parade back when we were kids was a family affair which pretty much everyone had to join in. Even if you didn't particularly enjoy watching this endless precessional of horses, guns and dancers, your teacher was bound to ask you about it tomorrow at school, so you don't really have an option with this one.
Well, this doesn't necessarily count as a "memory from your childhood" per say, but this particular event does cover a pretty vital part in terms of significant events that occured during Independence.
Headlines flashed with this one as front pages, meme pages and every other page you can think of flashed with the image of the iconic Laptop/ pipe Dance at the Indpendence Day parade practice. With half your family shaking their heads in dismay and the other half sharing memes of it, this list wouldn't be complete without at least mentioning it.
When you're a kid, you don't really care about the whole "Independence" bit of the whole thing. What you do end up caring about is the horses, the parachutes and counting the cannons and they boom their way out of Galle Face Green. Which is why, when you think about the Independence Day parade, your first instinct would be to think about the big booms and the people falling from the sky.
One of the best parts about being born into this generation and not the one after us is how priviledged we were to have grandparents who remember snippets of very significant parts of history that we were supposed to learn for school.
Come even signs of February, you would find yourself sitting next to your grandparents as they tell you story after story about how things were in that last part of the fight for Indpendence. Details about what it felt like to be a child when D. S Senanayake was PM and such, and let's face it, we all listened enraptured by each detail till we completely forgot that the colonial era even existed within a couple days as the Sports Meet was almost here.
In a time when your only source of imagery came from scrap sheets (the cartoon ones, not the fancy HD ones they get now) and Newspaper cut outs, most of us probably remember spending the days before, during and after Independence day collectig and cutting out bits and pieces off of newspapers with pictures of significant people, their stories and the how the colonial era was like to take to school the next day because your teacher insisted that you have something to paste on your book. Leaving your living room a mess and a pile of newspapers with people with only half a face and parts of advertisements missing.
Every Sri Lankan loves a good long weekend and it ain't nothing like it when Independence Day falls next to a weekend (and by that, we mean any other day other than Wednesday). Be it a Thursday when your parents call in sick on Friday or Better yet when it falls on a Friday or a Monday, Independence Day Weekend trips are an actual thing.
However, if you're one of those people who have never gone on one of these, imagine waking up in someone elses home that's bustling with activity, the parade still going on whilst the podi ones watch it and the old people fall asleep watching it...it's great.
The Sri Lankan flag is a staple in every home on the island. And the thing about this flag is that it only sees the light of day on a certain day in the beginning of Feb, after which it will be washed and kept at the back of a closet with a few kapuru bola to keep it company till Febrruary returns and we pull it back out again.
Independence is a great thing when you're a child. The combination of assemblies highlighting important parts of the great fight (which you probably won't understand till you're much older), getting all dressed up in your one national costume that you'll also end up wearing to daham pasal and hearing the planes whizzing above your school making your entire class run outside to see the planes going, Independence thing comes with a lot of memories when you're a child and it isn't the same when you're older.
I mean, you might feel it just a bit when the planes whizz past and your lecturers voice is drowned out for a few seconds, but given how air conditioning was created to lock you out of the entire outside world, you won't feel it if you're a part of the working class, unfortunately.
අපේ අම්මලාට වගේම, ආදරණීය බිරින්දෑවරුන්ට උදව්වක් වෙන්න කියල ගෙදර…
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