The Indian Independence Day celebrations for 2015 are officially over, as I write these lines. All remnants from the festivities have now been swept off the streets, tucked away in garbage bins, or sent to recycling units.
For an entire week (or so) this month, India celebrated itself as "nation". An independent, unified and secular nation. All over the world, we participated in this carnival of independence as "Indians".
The tri-colour temporarily overshadowed the divisions of race, caste, creed, religion and state. Once again, like every year, tales of colonial oppression were revisited. The struggle for freedom was applauded. The scars of partition were re-bandaged. Independence (from the British) was celebrated.
But alas, this carnival is now over. Until next year that is.
The Indian tricolour has now been replaced with the usual selfie as the Facebook profile photo for most Indians (including myself). WhatsApp groups are no longer pinging with "patriotic spam". TV news channels logos are no longer coloured in saffron, white and green.
Patriotic tweets by the "we have an opinion about everything" fraternity of Bollywood have also come and gone. The Prime Minister, too, has made his official address to the nation, assuring us that "acchhe din" are in the offing. And then, he flew off to the UAE.
Fifteen August 2015 is over. And it's back to business as usual for India, and for Indians.
And, for the next 12 months, we will all now revert to our preferred denominations.
For a full year now, we will go back to being North Indians, South Indians, Biharis, Maharashtrians, Guajaratis, and so on. We will once again be Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Christians for each other. For a full year now, the tricolour will only be waved during cricket matches. For a full year now, the national anthem will only be heard at school assemblies. For a full year now, we will go back to being intolerant towards our differences.
For a full year now, we will cease to be "Indians".