Everyone got up and craned their necks to spot the figures in the distance, only to be told by those at the back to sit down. But after 15 names were read, the enthusiasm flagged, with the people tired of getting up to try and see what was going on. The refreshments scene was no better. As soon as the ceremony was over, there was a rush to get tea and water and snacks.
With people hungry and thirsty, with the searing heat, there was a chaotic situation around the snacks counters behind the Jaipur column. One could spot envoys looking lost among the crowd of people, that included hundreds of BJP supporters, as they walked, or rather were pushed, in the surge. While the arrangements to enter Rashtrapati Bhavan had been worked out to the last detail, it appeared that they had not paid the same attention for the end of the ceremony when guests would want to leave. There were thousands of people leaving at the same time. The arrangements seemed to have disappeared as people walked in all directions.