It was after quite a few years that I watched the Republic Day parade today.
While the parade happened on a dull, rainy morning (indeed a bright, sunny morning would have been ideal for the riot of colour), the only facts that made me stick was the symbolism and its far- reaching implications for the Republic, positive ones, certainly.
The thing began yesterday when Wing Commander Pooja Thakur gave President Obama a guard of honour.
Then today, contingents of the three armed forces included women officers leading the way. Women mountaineers from the Indian Army, women sailors from the Indian Navy who sailed from Goa to Rio de Janeiro showcased their achievements.
The women soldiers marched as equals with their male counterparts, they marched with their heads held high. They were confident and undoubtedly proud of their achievements. And service to the Republic was the undertone of the pomp and pageantry.
As I saw the parade progress, I had little doubt that this display of women-power matching the fire-power would have inspired countless little girls around the nation - in the jungles of Jharkhand, the hills of Kumaon, tea gardens of the North East, dunes of the Thar, mustard fields of Punjab and the temple towns of the South. They would be having a twinkle in their in their eyes, right now, their minds racing with dreams of growing up as equals and following the footsteps of the women soldiers on Rajpath today. They would be pestering their parents that they would want to join the armed forces.
That in my view is inspirational for an entire generation and indeed more cost effective than any budgetary programme worth its salt. The parade also showcased India as a progressive nation of equals.
Indeed this was Prime Minister Modi's masterstroke.
I still have one regret - the fly pasts of the C-17 Globemaster, the C-130 Hercules, the Poseidon P8 and the Sukhoi Su30 MKi were not as impressive because of the dense cloud-cover, that broke my heart...