My date with the Beating Retreat 2016

Being in Delhi for more than three decades, I did not get an opportunity to see the Beating Retreat ceremony live. Since every news paper while reporting about the forthcoming event in 2016 stated that this year it is going to be colourful and more musical and the ceremony during 2016 will be at its best. After seeing that report both me and my wife    got excited and don’t want to miss the event this time.

After getting pass  for the programme I was eagerly waiting for the event to be held on 29 Jan 2016.  The scheduled programme was to start exactly at 5.30 PM. All the Central Government offices located around Vijay Chowk were closed and Security Staff occupied the area and the venue was looked like a war zone.  We started from our residence at around 3 AM and reached Patel Chowk Metro Station at 3.30. By that time lot of people started pouring in and were going towards the venue. Security was so tight and it seemed that all security staff watching the public with a suspicion to avoid any untoward incidents. After reaching the venue we found that there were three tier security. This was the first time we went through three tier security and we both felt little nervous.

The sun was about to set in. The reflection of red colour brighten the sky. Entire audience were waiting eagerly for the ceremony to begin.  The atmosphere was completely silent. All eyes were turned towards Rastrabathi Bhawan. A white jeep started coming towards the dais. Yeah it was the Chief of the Naval Staff who came first followed by Air Force and Army Chief. Entire audience clapped their hands when the three Chiefs waved their hands towards the crowd.

After few minutes, the crowd stood at their feet to see Prime Minister’s car reaching the venue. It’s difficult to ignore Narendra Modi’s signature half-sleeve kurtas (and churidaars). His crisp formals and that pop of colour make him distinct from other guests. When he waved his hand the entire audience responded with a roar!

When President’s cavalcade entered the venu everybody got excited and the entire crowd waved their hands  and the President reciprocated them by waving his hand to the audience.

The Republic Day parade is a wonderful experience and a very proud tradition of our nation. Unlike previous year the much awaited Beating Retreat, that signals the end of the Republic Day festivities, undergone a slight change.The ceremony in Delhi is observed keeping in mind the age old tradition, according to which, soldiers called a close down to the war at sunset.The ceremony officially marks the finale of the Republic day celebrations.

This year the the ceremony show caused  new blend of music instead of the long tradition of only military music. Sitar, santoor and tabla, will be heard for the first time along with military bands.These newly introduced percussion instruments has changed the usual bugles, pipes and drums usually featured in the show by the colonial military band.

For the better view of the programme for the crowd LED screens, spider-cams and surround sound systems were installed.

And at exactly 6 pm, the buglers sound the retreat and the National Flag is lowered to the National Anthem and soon after Rashtrabathi Bhawan, South Block, North Block and all the surrounding Government buildings illuminated  that brought the Republic Day celebrations to a bright and formal end.

The ceremony just like every year  created a nostalgia for the times gone by.

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