My childhood and the change


Change is the essence of life. Burning hot gases spiralling around the core have cooled down for a change. Life has developed, civilisations have prospered and mankind has ruled the earth and the seas. Nature offered to us everything that it could and everything that it wanted to. It offered to us the cool breeze which strikes our face and hands so gently lest it hurt us. It offered to us melodious tunes from the nightingale enabling the mothers to have a good sleep at night not bothering about the lullaby or the tale at the time meant for the body to rest in peace. It has offered to us the fast flowing streams down the hill which accommodate our feet and every drop of which tickles us as it moves along its predestined path.


And there is much more it has offered and there was much more that it could have offered had we given it the chance to do so. But instead, guided by our natural instincts, a change was demanded. Lush green stretches of land with beautiful flowers and butterflies at quite a number of places have given way to plants confined to the soil of diameter no more than a few centimetres and encircled all around by the concrete jungle. The cool breeze get hotter and lighter every day and it couldn’t find a place to move around and even if it had, it was path full of turns, bends and spirals which none including the inanimate wind wished to transverse. Streams became thinner and thinner to be enclosed by metallic structures and be embedded in concrete.

In short there was a change, which wasn’t gradual but drastic, a change that was welcomed by mankind but not by nature. No wonder that if questioned, man would have supported his move for the change by blaming nature for being inefficient to cater to his needs. Whoever it was who was inefficient or was efficient enough and determined enough to change the environment to suit his needs, the one who has struggled in the long run is the tiny toddler who is stripped of his right to grow closer to nature.

‘Chang’ has made the smiling boy jumping from branch to branch change into a child who still does the same thing but while playing a highly advanced game aided by infrared sensors. ‘Change’ has made the boy swimming in the lakes and natural reservoirs change into the one who still swims but guided by an instructor, protected by an air filled structure and surrounded by water that takes the colour of the tiles underneath. And finally, ‘change’ has made the playful boy living close to nature die in the due course of time.

At this point of time, I wish to recollect my experiences as a kid who was bought up close to nature and share them with you’ll to pay a tribute to the dead lifestyle.

It was not more than 9000 days back when I was very much aware of what nature and love was. They were very much like synonyms, one explaining the meaning of the other rather than being two isolated entities in the dictionary struggling hard day and night under the light of the fluorescent tube to define themselves in a way that wouldn’t call for the need to define another word or another phrase to define what has been already stated in the definition. Nature meant love and love meant nature and love was enhanced by those people around me who were infact a part of nature and had learnt what love meant from that very same nature.

Love could be seen on the branches of the trees overhead in the feeding of the just born birds by their loving mother; the food being fetched by their father. Love could be seen in the way the butterflies would hover around the children and move around theme wherever they went unable to part with them for even a second. Love could be seen between the fast flowing storm and the path beneath to which it had adhered for centuries.

Love was definable, love could be seen, love could be felt, and love could be taught and learnt. Those were the first few lessons taught to me by my grandfather whom I would accompany every other day for a walk down the lane in which we lived in a small yet beautiful house surround by mud walls and enveloped by tiles made of mud.

The morning walk was infact the best part of my daily schedule. It was that part of the day when I would have ample time to pose questions and get them answered by my grey haired grandfather who would have an answer to every question I have and in the rarest of the rare cases, when he was short of an answer that could satisfy my thirst for knowledge, the rest of the day he would have to spent in preparing delicacies made of jaggery along with granny and then, he would be forced to sit in the library for hours together, scanning through every book till the answer was found.

We would start of for the walk even before the sun would peep out of its hiding place behind the clouds and return only after the time when the rays would strike almost vertically. The values that I possess today are a result of those long hours of conversation and doubt clearing sessions in those mornings. There would often be lengthy debates when both of us would be reluctant to accept the view point of the other. I very well remember one such incident when we had fallen into trouble.

The discussion on that day was revolving around God, his role in the continuation of the existence of life and the very basic question of his existence. Since a greater part of my day except the early morning used to be spent with my grandmother, I was a spectator to her prayers and the mantras that she would recite. More than anything else, the thing that led me to believe in god was the ambience created in our house once the lamps were lit and the offerings were made. Though I had the least idea of what to ask God for and it would really be fulfilled, I used to simply join my two hands, close my eyes and move my lips just as my grandmother would. The movement of the lips was just random; it was after all an act of imitating my grandmother for the only reason that I liked it. There wasn’t any rhythm in it and I wonder if god who would decipher anything in this world even if it doesn’t mean anything had decrypted the random movement of my lips and offered me happiness and joy in my life, much more than what was required.

Now coming back to that memorable yet not so good incident that has taken place on that fine morning, quarrelling with each other on top of our voices, we had come across a small structure several of which could be spotted in the village. It was usually called as a temple which used to be so low in height and small that it could accommodate no more than one other person apart from the deity residing other.

A small child, infact elder to me was sitting over there and weeping inconsolably. There were minor wounds on his body. ‘He must have most probably hurt himself while playing and is now innocently praying to God to come to his rescue’ said my grandfather. The immediate second, my face turned red with anger and I looked at my grandfather with eyes wide open and full of rage that a passer by would most probably think that a disaster would set in with our fight.

Even at that young age, people around us used to say that I, the little boy was more compassionate and kind that my grandfather. Unable to digest the looks on my face, my grandfather attempted to console the child and patted him on his back. He wasn’t willing to share with us who he was and why he was weeping. Though my grandfather had been living in the same village since his childhood, he had the least idea of how that boy was. I blamed it on his incapability to memorise the faces of people but he wouldn’t accept and so another quarrel had started. Frightened, the boy transformed his cry into a shriek. We realised that it was our fault and I suggested my grandfather that we take him to a nearby hospital and so it was done.

Everything was fine at that moment but not so later on. My grandfather had no idea of what was to be done with that boy. Even after a long wait of around one hour at that same place, none had come to take the boy and so he had to be taken along with us to our home. Never till that day did I knew that my granny had a voice that could scold grandpa. Even without telling the reason and even before we stepped into the house, the voice raised to the peak.

What actually happened was that the boy had come along with his parents to meet his grandparents in the village and had hurt himself while playing. During that one hour when we had taken him to the hospital, his parents have come to pick him up and they naturally haven’t found him and they broke down into tears and grandma had been to their house to console them. Everything had ended well and their parents have thanked us for getting his wounds treated and at the same time abused us for creating so much of commotion in their minds.

I perceived it as a good chance to take revenge on my loving grandfather for talking against my faith in god and hurled a highly illogical statement that the couple thanked us because I was a --- and has abused us because grandpa had talked blasphemously. The wonderful part of this incident was the way in which my grandfather was scolded. Even today, when I recollect this incident, it is these scoldings that bring a smile on my face.

The morning walk would be followed by the monotonous job of going to the school in the village and being taught by the master under the banyan tree. Though I hardly enjoyed it in those days, I today feel that I was infact lucky to have got a chance to learn and be educated in such a serene atmosphere.

They were days when I would be harshly beaten up by the teacher on the request of my grandparents for not obeying their words. The pain that I would be experiencing at that moment would then be passed on to them with the silent evenings when I wouldn’t speak a word with them unless they say sorry thousands of times and promise to take me to movie on the following weekend. Contrary to that situation, there were days on which our teacher would receive his share of scoldings for having used the rod to deal with me the previous day.
Even today, I find this sort of behaviour too strange and at the same time convincing too. My grandparents were so possessive of me that they felt that no one had a right to hurt me expect themselves and every time it had been done, it helped me become  a better and better human with virtues overflowing.

There was much more fun than what can be mentioned here. At times, nights used to become days    and storytelling would continue till the dawn to make the next morning a day to pass time on the bed. The daily routine was occasionally disturbed at such times but it too was helpful in breaking the monotony of our lives and prevented us from leading a robotic life. The evenings used to be spent playing games with the children of my neighbourhood of my age and the youngest among them would infact be my grandparents.

Memories are called so because one day they have to be virtually recreated in the empty space before us because of our inability to realise them in reality a second time. With the passage of time, my grandparents health had deteriorated and they both left this world for their heavily adobe the same day when I had to celebrated 14 years of existence on this earth. I was taken to the city where my parents had been living till then. Every day moving images of my grandparents and the life earlier in my childhood would appear in front of my eyes but all that I can do is to wait for a next life…..

15 comments:

Nishchal

Change has come and it has given us both good and bad things... Hope there are more of good!!!
But when it comes to nature a control is needed... Nature has given us so much since things were zero... we have to protect it but in our daily lives change is necessary... :)

Ashwini

Mankind has only "taken" from the nature. I feel now is the time to "give" by protecting and nurturing the natural resources.

Pradip Biswas

The tree make the best live example. It only gives but takes a very little that too the toxic carbon-di-oxide and waste(ferts) as food.
This is an excellent post by you.

matheikal

Quite a captivating narrative. Reminds me of some of my childhood experiences too.

Mak

I miss my grandma similar to the way you do. My grandpa passed away a year after i was born but it was my grandma who was with me all the time.
Such a beautiful narration of your childhood Ranjit.
All the best for contest.

chitra

change!

rahul aggarwal

loved every bit of your writing Ranjit...

change is inevitable...

all the best for the contest

rahul

confusedyuppie

wow! what stayed with me was the canings you received and ur grandpa's reactions to them. Life was so 'real' and simple then

Zach George

Beautiful narration..the words exudes the warmth and love..but as they say,the only thing that remains constant is change.We just have to learn to live with it.
Good luck with the contest :)

Shilpi Dutta

Awesome post man!! I was s occupied in this, i forgot what I was doing...Simply rocking!

Someone is Special

Ranjith, once again a beautiful post from your pen.. Thanks for blessing this..

Someone is Special

Funny Gypsy

Lovely and philosophical! Superbly written... :)

TheKeyBunch

cool post! :) and thanks for voting for my expedia post on indiblogger!

banti

-Good piece of information.

animesh shah

an illustrative and vivid post of the childhood...it reminded me of malgudi days , i used to watch in my childhood and the summer break when i used to go to my grandparents place to live life close to nature..

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