It took me only a few weeks to become accustomed to the frequent offers of free sweets and samosas in the company’s pantries (each floor). Whenever a colleague passes a certification exams, birthday celebrations (except for me, I preferred to celebrate it at home and only with Filipinos), cricket games victory, farewell, when a wife of an Indian gives birth, etc. – samosas and/or any form of sweets are shared to all usually in the afternoon.
Today it was a little different, not just because of these great tasting croissants, but because the Indians and Pakistanis in the office made out-of-pocket contributions to have a joint celebration of Pakistan’s and India’s independence day. I find this quite admirable of them to be celebrating that way. I mean, it’s real simple but independence day obviously looks like a red letter day for them. I asked myself how the Filipinos in the office celebrated ours last June 12 (though the Philippine Embassy held some activities that weekend). I’m giving myself the benefit of the doubt that probably it’s because we’re quite few compared to them.
I will never have a doubt that I love my country and my being its citizen. But it would be heartwarming to see us and all the others based abroad being like them – proud of their independence day whichever part of the globe they are. As I wrote here last June, probably it’s because we’re not really freed, substance over form.
On the other hand, it made me rechecked my history why is there a double celebration today. Pakistan and India are results of the partition of the British Indian Empire. If you’ll take a closer look at the history, the partition happened the same moment: the two self-governing countries legally came into existence at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947. But Pakistan adopted its standard time, 30 minutes later than India’s. Hence, it’s techically August 14, 1947 11:30 PM then. This odd part of history is interesting. The way I see it it’s like avoiding the fact they would celebrate freedom the same day.
As I’m writing this, it’s disturbing to see that these countries are relatively still at war. There’s political unrest in Kashmir, boundary of the two countries. Just like the political claims of Philippines, without the best effort of protecting our rights. For now, I’d rather see different nationalities united over bites of samosas and sweets. What a sweet escape from reality.