This takes the cake: Independence Day in London was a story of parties and protests but with a more marked difference this time. There was no protest of course at the Independence Day party at the High Commission, where High Commissioner Gaitri Issar Kumar cut a huge cake after addressing a select gathering. But the protest outside was more a party than usual. As promised, and as advertised, plenty of food was on offer to Khalistani protesters who turned up with their families for the part-picnic outside the High Commission.
Mind the gap: The police have learnt now to draw a line to make sure protesters do not target the India House with violent acts. They have simply pushed the barriers to the further of the two roads in front of the building. Traffic on the nearer of the two roads to the building becomes a natural line of defence; the protest groups stand behind a fence on the second road, and the police patrol the space in front of the barriers on foot and on horseback. The mounted police certainly send out a rather firm message.
Thought for food: Many in the Indian community celebrated Independence Day at the historic Gymkhana Club in Osterley. The party was kicked off by Lord Rami Ranger, and put together by Kuldeep Shekhawat from the Overseas Friends of the BJP. But this was no political party affair; it really was a non-political picnic with plenty of stalls offering free food, and much entertainment all around.
A playful tradition: Independence Day revellers at the Gymkhana looked back to the good old days with an edgy nostalgia on Sunday. For years it was a tradition for the visiting Indian cricket team to play their first match against the Gymkhana, which would rustle together the best it could find to take on a Test side. Might have helped this present out-of-practice and out-of-form Indian team to get some practice matches in before plunging into the Tests, and finding itself struggling so often.
In shipshape: Independence Day was celebrated in unique if limited style onboard INS Tabar on Sunday afternoon. High Commissioner Gaitri Issar Kumar and senior High Commission officials gathered on the rear deck for the party on a perfect half-sunny day against the blue waters of Portsmouth where the ship is docked. It will soon be the end of party time for the crew as the ship sails out for exercises with the Royal Navy before heading out further on its goodwill mission.