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On Its Own Pace

by Anjali Sharma
(Delhi, India)

Looking at the vista of lavish gifts of life, 'childhood' is the most enduring phase endowed upon humanity. These pleasant memories are profusely imbibed in our minds.

The imprints are still a fresh and the serenity of silent autumns and warm Summers of childhood, still have an indelible mark on me, and for life's longing.

Yes, memories of childhood are pristine, our invaluable possessions, which are mortgaged to adulthood, these memories, nostalgic moments, recollections from the past, still overwhelm my mind.

Every time when vacations approach, my mind and heart automatically reminds me of my maternal grandparents and their home.

Instead of visiting unexplored lands, visiting temples as devotees for the blessings or hanging out with friends, I rather chose to visit the sojourned place every year.

The reasons attributed, may be the 'period of innocence and dreams' spent there, before facing the big bad world.

Soon the urbanization and modernization took over this phase and the magnetic force of need and greed fogged my mind and taming me in such a way, that, it became a necessity to sustain, but still in between the intervals, the flashes of childhood revisited me, many times, like the rising and falling tides, the emotions and the urge to go back to the land of nostalgia, always pulled me back, to relive the cherished moments of childhood.

The time spent with the grandparents was the short golden period, as they always shielded us from the most harsh and rude conditions. The life was full of royal treatments, superiority and dominance.
I still distinctly recollect, how the rooster played the role of an alarm clock, the mud and clay pots became our toys and the vast green fields during Summers, became our playgrounds, where we roamed under the scorching Sun or the Star-lit skies, day and night, but without any purpose, reason or objective. It was purely the luxury of doing 'nothing.'

Heavy lunch followed by warm siestas in the lap of nature, and dinner with star-gazing session, was my favorite pastime.

The very thought of tasting the ripe mangoes under the mango trees in the orchard, still satiates and calms down my turbulent mind.

The recurring image of Gambol of children, in the afternoon, hanging to the mango trees and going to and fro and at times crash landing, is still so fresh in the thoughts.

Now, when I re-visit my memories and compare them to the present times, things have changed drastically.

Touches of modernization and fast transformation are everywhere. Nothing is same now, memories are forged and recollections are deceived. I feel cheated at times, my rustic life is long gone and lost.

Kirana shops are now modern Grocery shops, the granaries are replaced by the air-conditioned malls, the cow-sheds are modern milk-dairies, the antennas on the roofs has been replaced by the dish-TV on the terrace. To quench my thirst I do not have to look for that earthen-pots any more, as water coolers are at every nook and corner, even if the water supply is not.

Sometimes, I smile at my own stupidity and mock at my foolishness. I was so selfish, expecting the things to remain the same for me, and my village to rot in primitiveness, whereas I could enjoy the fruits of technology and whenever I wanted, I could return to my primitive nest.

Modernization is not only my birthright but a privilege of all. Rural has to become Urban some day, as it is the mark of growth and development for us.

So, what if I feel perplexed and not feel satiated seeing this development, so what if no more orchards exist, so what if I can no longer meander through the dusty passages, or hop on the puddles of water or step on the cow-dung. So what! if old and elderly no longer sit on their cots, under the shady trees.

So what if no longer the vats of the pickle can be seen soaking the sun on the roof-tops?

Earlier the houses were on the fingertips and so was the name of the residents, but now naming-ceremony of lanes is all show and pomp.

Water wells are long extinct, now each house has its electric hand-pump, so what, if water table depletes, at least we can 'make hay while the Sun shines'.

With high rise houses, the distance between the neighbours is also increasing. They rarely meet, but on occasions such as mending their common compound walls do see an eye for an eye, but now-a-days the snarls are legendary and one of the common occurrences.

There were times when living was tough, to fetch water, the village folks walked miles in groups , interacting with each-other, and so the humanity was greater, but now with coming of ease factor, every thing available at door-step, the humanity has taken a back step or seat.

But my thoughts are still diversely coloured and vividly pleasant with memories of bygone era called 'childhood', the memories are similar to a swift flowing river but, at times, somewhere amidst the turbulence, they get lost.

As the past and present intermingle, they lose beginning, unaware of the end and still flow swiftly at times. I still desire for old times, but then life has to move on, that too on its own pace......for better.

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