Monday, December 19, 2011

Part-4....that never returns....


The schools were located at two- three kilometers away from the residence. Children from the neighbourhood converged at a convenient point before setting out for the school. The to and fro journey on own two-wheelers[ two legs] was much more interesting than any other fun. The sceneries and greeneries on the way, the stories from fellow walkers, petty eatables packed in paper bits etc. smoothed our movement to school through stony roads. The children carried their books  in their hands as bundles tied with broad rubber band. The boys took the support of  the shoulder where as the girls that of the loin just like village-women carried kids in journey. School bags with the children were very rare rather seldom, unlike today when even the play school inmates have to exhibit a camel like show.   

Fares and festivals were indeed wonderful, as they provided real mind- blowing curiosity to both the little ones and grownups. These occasions the siblings ,cousins, friends, relatives and neighbours celebrated in unison with a lot of spirit. Dip in the pond, new apparels, palatable plantain-leaf  feast etc. were some of the main features. Deep feeling of oneness and togetherness bound the children during celebrations. Onam being a distinct festival was attributed with  numerous activities for the kids and kiddies. Floral decorations  added magnificence to ‘Onam’. Girls moved round in search of flowers in village, swinging baskets in hands. The very thought of flower gathering made them come out of the bed with a bright countenance, even if  lazy  they were. Swing area was another point of charm. The heroic event of standing and touching high branches of the swing- supporting tree by expert ones, during swinging, was lucidly adventurous.

 Coming to cultivation sowing seeds , harvesting,  bundling, arranging , threshing, winnowing etc. of paddy crops enthused the children much. Songs and tunes hummed by reapers turned the atmosphere admirably lively. The little ones consumed all their might in troubling the workers, as their little limbs fell in everything and everywhere they came across. Besides all these actions, sleeping together on mats, spread on the floor of the quadrangle inside and falling down in its sandy ground, snatching the fish piece kept for the end part of the meal by some smart guys, catching small fish from pond in bath towels etc. had their significance.

Sights and scenes as currents of events flow to the computer’s monitor in the form of words and sentences. If I continue like this, the  conclusion will be far away from me. So now I would be away from the mouse of the computer. Sure the then children had a  joyous colourful childhood of very long duration. But our offspring had an adulthood of long duration from their childhood itself. The parents  stuffed their brains with academics to fulfill their aspirations and ambitions. Heavy load of books and works weakened their brawns.. They might not have saved much  in the memory ,so I don’t know whether  they can recall this much amount of infancy with this much cheer and pleasure. Let’s hope at least they may  not follow the foot prints of their parents in rearing their offspring. May the Almighty sprinkle the flowers of His blessings on all of them                                                
Sarala                                                                                                                       [Theend]

Part-3...that never returns....

 Infants toddled and prattled through the verandas and compounds, picking whatever came on the way, generating gleam in elders’ eyes. They bagged special attention practically nil from the guardians, since the children were not the kind of spoon-fed category. They availed  of more freedom than today’s child, who is more attention- seeking. And so they were  much more independent and self- reliant. Mostly the children used to get up, before the Sun came with his long sticks of rays to wake them up. Divine qualities such as obedience, discipline, honesty, affection etc tinted with sincerity ornamented the villagers and so also their children. Therefore a wind of an  unwritten law and order blew everywhere spreading the fragrance of simplicity..      

 Boys and girls, though had their own separate mode of amusement and recreation, not many games segregated them. So hardly had we formed any group for playing. Olichukali[hide and seek],adichechottam[race],king[catching and ousting one from the present round], kuzhippara[stones and pits],kallukothu[picking stones in the gap of another stone thrown up], and much more were among the items of entertainment. Vattu[marbles]and kuttiyum- kolum[a primitive form of cricket]filled the little male minds with thrill. Little-little magic hands turned  amazingly this way- that way, when various leaves ,nut-shells,  paper-bits, rope–pieces, cords, strings, even mud etc. got shaped into  toys and play things. Fights and quarrels[mostly verbal] had no dearth there, but lasted not long. Of course such habits are inherent or in-built in children.

 The thought of waking up at day break and running to the mango trees to collect the maximum number of mangoes occupied the little minds while going to the bed. Monsoon  days, bathed in heavy showers that covered the whole earth with water,amused the children. They either remained idle at home engaging in some indoor games, but not for long or galloped to the flowing water with paper boats. But a thud of falling mangoes induced vigour in them  and then within no time they were under the mango tree. Grandma’s winnowers became  umbrellas in children’s hands and  sticks jumped  into grandma’s hand.

Every house had one or more ponds that stole the children’s time a lot. Jumping, diving, swimming-direct, upside down, sideways,backwards- were some of the arts performed in the pond. Sometimes some plantain stems appeared in water for paddling games. Counting with a little bit cheating by one person for another remaining under water was carried out smoothly. Of course ample amount of pulling and pushing were the spices that made the water art interesting. These things went on endlessly till some elders voiced loudly. At the age of five itself all the children were at the track of swimming and not even a single child was there who hadn’t had mastery over the skill of swimming.

                                                                                                            [to be contd.]