bhOndOO maintains the record — every year on Aug 14, he plans to attend the flag hoisting ceremony, and the next day, he sleeps past the alarm. bhOndOO is very unhappy with his performance. It has been thirteen years the record is unbroken.
Post a special lunch in the mess, bhOndOO starts riding towards the department. He passes by the main building and sees the Indian Tricolor waving at him. He smiles at it and decides, “I will definitely see you next year.”.
He rides past the main building and sees a few children playing with small flags. One child is looking intently at the building construction by the side of the road and has no clue that the tricolor in his hand is getting inside the mud below. Another child is trying to beat his friends with his flag. bhOndOO stops his bicycle, rather abruptly, with minor use of the useless brakes and majorly with his legs. The children get frightened to see the shabby object suddenly stopping beside them.
“Dear kids, this is our national flag. You should respect it. Don’t misuse it. Keep it always in a correct position.”, and bhOndOO makes the child keep the muddy flag upright. The children keep looking at him — curiously. bhOndOO then smiles, says enthusiastically, “Happy Independence Day.”, and leaves the spot.
bhOndOO comes to the vacant lab, checks CSA mails, gmail, yahoo, hotmail, rediffmail, orkut — not a single message. bhOndOO feels bored. He waits in vain for five minutes for someone to come. The boredom makes him feel sleepy and he decides to go the tea-board to have a hot and fresh tea.
bhOndOO gets seated at a chair. The first hot sip brings him back to half-awakened state. He starts applying all possible search algorithms to look for the task he should do after returning to the lab. The algorithms get interrupted by the sight of a medium sized cardboard box kept on a chair at a corner. bhOndOO looks around and sees a couple of other students not concerned about any box. bhOndOO gets suspicious because of the recent bomb blasts and because it is the Independence Day. He moves away from the place — keeping his tea half-untaken and stands for a couple of minutes. When he gets certain that none of the present visitors own the box, he goes to the tea-board owner and tells him that it could be a bomb.
After five minutes, the tea-board gets full making a round about the box at a distance. All the workers, the then seated clients and now the passerby people are keenly looking at the box and nobody is ready to go near. Someone calls the security personnel. They come with sticks and do not wish to touch the box.
“Let’s call police.”, the security officer declares. The situation gets more and more tensed. bhOndOO is excited: not only that he has forgotten about his sleep, but he is also going to become saviour of many IISc students. His day-dreaming about getting the President Bravery Award gets interrupted by the siren of the police van. Three police officials get down from the van along with the bomb detection squad.
They ask everyone to stand further away from the box. bhOndOO receives a special appreciation from the police when they are informed that bhOndOO noticed the box first. Everyone gets behind — bhOndOO is still the nearest spectator. One person from the squad wearing an astronaut-like silver clothes approaches the chair, holding a wire-cutter and a big thick cloth. He goes near the box and delicately covers the whole chair by the cloth keeping his head low. He waits for a few seconds to let anything happen. When nothing happens, he looks at his colleagues from the squad (as if stating Tell my wife and children that I loved them very much), bows further down, and puts his hand below the cloth. Everyone in the crowd forgets breathing and starts looking with wide open eyes. Each one of them is expecting a loud noise.
bhOndOO gets 15 hundred thoughts in the 15 seconds the person takes to open the box. While taking out the box-cover made of card-board, bhOndOO sees a blood red colored oval shaped something below the thick cloth in the box. As the person keeps down the box cover, people breath again.
The person then takes the wire-cutter and puts his hand below the cloth. Everyone is holding their nerves. bhOndOO’s pulse rate is doubled. Several thoughts run past the minds of the spectators: Is it a bomb? Will it explode? How many will die? Shall I call her? Will I be the first one to blog about it? Why don’t I have camera in my mobile? Will the person near the box live? What will we tell his family? What is the phone number of Ramaiyyah Hospital?…
Suddenly, there is a big noise: boom, immediately followed by the shouting of the person near the box and a few Aaaaas from the spectators. The person is thrown away a few feet from the bomb and the cloth is torn down to pieces which are scattered around and in air. A few people who try to step back fall on the people behind them with many more Aaaaas.
When bhOndOO removes his hands from his face, he notices that the person is still alive, because he is looking straight at bhOndOO. When bhOndOO adjusts his spects, he realizes that the cloth and the chair, both are intact, and the pieces in the air are floating.
After the crowd disappears, in the order of the nearest spectator first, along with her crying kid, a lady comes to tea-board and asks the owner in a hopeless tone, “Did you see a box containing a balloon here?”.