With just a day to go for India’s 68th Independence Day, flags are the flavour of the season. The saffron, white and green evokes a sudden surge of patriotism. Hemant Malpe likes to buy flags from children at signals in the city. He says, “I feel bad for the children selling the flags and so buy it from them.
I like sticking the flag showpiece on my car dashboard. When they get old I don’t throw them away. I keep them along with the religious items. For me, patriotism and love for God are on par. So I treat the flag with the same respect that I treat God and religion.”
Preethi Pereira has been buying flags for the last five years every Independence Day and Republic Day. She says, “I buy flags from the shop and give them to the children in my neighbourhood. I want them to develop a love for India and our flag. I even take flags to office and give them to my colleagues.
I decorate my desk with the flags.” Once the festivities are done, Pereira collects the flags and keeps them in a box. Thane resident Shannen Castelino buys the flag every January 26 or August 15 for her cousin brother. She says, “The new styles of the flag enthrall my cousin. I try to get the latest model for him.
Since he was little, he has had a love affair with the tricolour. I think it is positive, so I encourage it.” The flag buying trend was started for Winston D’silva by his mother. The Andheri resident says, “When I was growing up my mother would always get a pin up flag for me and my siblings and ensure that we wore it with pride.
I continue this tradition by buying my own flag as well as getting some extras for my friends. I want to spread the love for India on Independence Day or Republic Day.” Nikhil Mestry opts to buy flags that are handmade by handicapped students.
He says, “The cause is noble and the money helps them, so I always buy a few flags from them. Once the celebration is over I ensure that the flag isn’t disrespected and keep it back safely at home.” In this way, Mestry fulfils a two-pronged goal. “Love for India and awareness of the flags made by the handicapped is spread through distribution to others,” he ends.