From watching the parade on television to participating in virtual marathons, Chennaiites celebrated Republic Day this year while taking into consideration the safety guidelines for the pandemic. Many stayed at home, while a few visited malls for a moment of respite.
Many city residents visited the malls, with Express Avenue and VR Mall seeing good crowds. Visitors wore masks and practised safety precautions.
Every year on the eve of Republic Day, the winners of the Padma awards are announced, and this was an anticipated event for many. “SPB sir is my inspiration, and to see him being awarded the Padma Vibhushan was bittersweet. He deserves all the accolades that we can offer. I only wish he was alive to have witnessed such a high moment in his life,” said Rajagopal from Adyar.
For others, this was a chance to participate in a virtual marathon organised by Indian Runners. “We have held this virtual run every Republic Day for the last four years. Participants are free to run at any location and any distance; their progress is tracked by an app that we monitor and winners are given medals and prizes. This is a good way to avoid crowding while taking part in a marathon,” said Prashant Choudhary, founder of Indian Runners. The run in Chennai saw around 300-400 participants, he said.