TODAY -

Lest, I would have got back those yesteryears!

Rabin Prasad Kalita *



Herein my urban locality, the person who resides to my next door doesn’t know me or even I don’t try to connect him. Although, we stay at a snoring distance from one another but yet, it seems far-off from physical contact. Nobody wants to know what’s happening across the boundary wall of one’s neighbor. But the untold truth is this; our entire perceptivity has been limited to the individual concern.

Where is our once resilient and most organized society heading now? Our eventful life from dawn to dusk might have separated us from clutching relationship with others. Life becomes too tough and chaotic running after achieving one’s own goal. The very own “our” has already been transformed to the selfish “I”, which has relatively made our pretty solidarity into dotted and dwarf.

What a wonderful my tiny village was! I become so pensive, remembering those sweet primary level school days left behind almost five decades from now. One cannot weigh the amount of cohesiveness amongst the villagers.The complete village became vibrant with a new look when there was a celebration. Let that be a mere function or marriage ceremony, everyone came and extended their helping hands voluntarily and took care of each department willfully from the beginning to the end of the ritual.

They became one on that particular day forgetting their difference, if there was any such misinterpretation earlier. Each one of them shouldered one’s assigned responsibility as if the ceremony was their own and made the ceremony into a grand success. This selfless collective works had made a perfect bonding of brotherhood solidarity amongst each other. I pray, those innocent hearts would still exist, but alas, they are long gone!

I recall, at the time of harvesting, all the farmers of the village came forward and joined their collective hands to harvest crops for each one of the inhabitants as per the turn. We were fascinated by seeing them singing and cutting jokes with the rhythm of reaping crops. At the end of the day, all of them had a wonderful dinner at the host’s home.

One can’t express in words the amount of happiness prevailed in those days. This practice was continued until the last one of the farmer’s crop collection was over. Such a lucid bond garnished with fun and frolic amongst the villagers can never be found anywhere else.

If a guest from far-flung suddenly arrived to one’s home, the news was broadcast in a minute around the village. The guest remained no more a stranger for the rest of the villagers. Welcoming guest with a cup of tea, snacks and betel-nut is an old tradition in our society. Daily used items like tea leaves, salt, sugar, milk, or any such obligatory items may not be available all the time at home.

So, we the villagers didn’t hesitate to borrow the same from our neighbours. Some of them even came through the back door for the physical help until the reception was over. Exchanging cooked palatable dishes during the lunch or dinner time were common in between the neighbours.

Presently am missing those true relationships here in this concrete jungle. Now, it’s like searching egg of a tortoise on the zenith of a hill. Very often I sob being emotional at night and also strive for those love and affection once I witnessed.

Sometimes the entire village became live on the heavy sound echoed from Nagara, Khol or Taal (Cymbal) during the "Naam Prashanga. The devotional psalms orchestrated with those age old percussions enticed us closed to an unknown happiness. High pitched sound of cymbal made all of us thrilled and the whole things were converted to a festive evening for the children. We all children were waiting for the Prasad, the sacred food offered first to the God.

We all were passionately waiting for the festivals like holi, dewali, Ras jatra, Bihu, Saraswati Puja etc. We became delighted furthermore restless during these days. There was no any other means of entertainment in those days except these periodical festivals and yet, we didn’t feel less in terms milking enjoyment. Televisions were miles away from reaching villages, moreover, a few villagers only were accessed to radios. Adults and senior citizens had the habit of gathering around the radio set, mostly in the evening hour for listening regional news besides other All India Radio programs.

My elder brother and I mostly studied in broad daylight because of the limited lantern at home to study at night. There was only one kerosene hand lamp in our entire house for which there was a tug of war on every evening with my brother. Winner got the opportunity to study smile fully under the lantern and the looser had to read under the trembling light of the wick or glass bottle oil lamp.

One of us had to forsake or wind up one’s study little early due to the insufficient light. During the study hour, we had to recite sounding high syllable to syllable, so that it goes to the ears of our parents else, an enquiry came from the other side, whether we were playing with the wick or chit-chatting each other. One can find the same up roaring tone reverberated all over the hamlet even if their parents were illiterate.

Most of the villagers slept before 8 o’clock. Some families were compelled to embrace their beds even at early evening owing to the lack of kerosene to ignite the braided fiber of the wick to keep their homes bright at night.

In those days, small children were taught as per their capacity to assist their parents’ household works. We had been groomed in such a way that, soon we grew up; we became perfect in all aspects and could look after the house with no fear. It was not being called as child labour then. Now, in this fast moving world, the whole equation has been changed. Intelligent one only gets to fill up his or her stomach.

The legacy of our once unified society is forlorn today. The selfish “me” or “I” has taken over the charge in place. Unity is a far cry in this virtual world. In this space-age,high-tech gadgetsare also equally responsible for pushing us to a considerable distance from one to one physical reach. Texting through social media has become enough for all sort of communications, even it’s seen in between the family members while communicating from one bed to another.


* Rabin Prasad Kalita wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a resident of Guwahati and can be contacted at rabin1966(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on December 23, 2018.



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