Patriotism is often stretched a mite too far a colleague asserted, as she wondered why several citizens were not aware how to pay respect to the National Flag or Anthem.

As it is, given the current mood in the country, displaying one's patriotism has become extremely important. For instance, one cannot even think of criticising any government initiative, plan or order lest one gets labelled as"anti-national".

Even in informal discussions with friends or colleagues one has to choose one's words with care and have to be absolutely diplomatic as one never knows whose feathers one may end up ruffling.

Another issue is the Supreme Court order for the National Anthem to be compulsorily played before a film is screened in the theatre. The practice was discontinued decades ago since it was felt that no one paid the due respect when the Anthem was played. With the movie theatres playing the National Anthem once more, a colleague had an amusing experience.

As some people were anxiously looking for their seats and others entering the hall, the National Anthem began playing.Immediately, our colleague narrated, all the people froze in their place. The whole scene, she said, reminded her of a childhood game of statue, in which one has to freeze and stay without moving in the position one is in when ordered to become "statue".

In the movie hall too, our friend recalled, someone's hand was near the mouth as he was gorging on popcorn from a tub and he became still the moment he heard the Anthem. Another person was leaning over and didn't move an inch during the entire Anthem.

Some even forgot to breathe as they were standing motionless! It was with great difficulty that our colleague managed to hold her laughter at the bizarre sight of the entire hall with people in various poses.

Instances of people getting beaten up for not respecting the National Anthem have got so deeply ingrained in people's minds that they were even okay to remain a "statue" for the entire 58 seconds!