Rain, Lake, Potato, Fairytales

In the chapter 4 of the book Growing Up Untouchable in India, Vasant Moon talks about his childhood memories before, during, and after the monsoon rains. He mentions how he used to roam around with friends, steal fruits from neighborhood trees, take off his clothes and run freely under the rain, search for crabs in the river bank after the rain, and participate in festival of snake.  It seems that despite the poverty he has suffered, Moon has been a free child and enjoyed this freedom by exploring the nature with the company of friends.

I have good memories of the rainy days. Kazeroon, my hometown, was hot and dry in the summer, but cool and rainy in the winter. It never snowed but rained a lot in the winter, and Kazeroon turned to an alive, fresh, green city in the winter. After the rain stopped, I used to wear my green, rubber boots and rush outside the house. Our alley was not paved during my childhood; therefore, rainwater gathered in one corner of the alley and created a big pond, which looked like a lake for us. I remember we enjoyed a lot to step in our lake and watch the circles of water created around our feet. We crossed the pond several times and sang songs loudly. Then we would come home, and my uncle baked potatoes in a small fire he made in the yard. It tasted wonderful with salt and chili.

Sometimes when the rain was accompanied with the storm or strong wind, then we lost electricity. We used to light a candle, go to my father, and along with my siblings and my cousins, ask him to tell us grandmother’s stories. He remembered many exciting, and wonderful tales and legends that his mother had told him in his childhood. My father was a good storyteller. In the light of the candle and amid thunderclaps,  I enjoyed listening to my father’s Afghan fairytales and legends. They all were adventurous and had happy ending.

Now that I am a grown-up, I feel happy that I had a wonderful childhood. It fills my heart with pleasure when I reminisce about it. However, now I think about other children as well. I ask myself if all the children in the world enjoy their right to play outdoors, to scream under the rain from the bottom of their heart, and to chase their playmates among the trees without being worried about tomorrow, about their dinner for tonight. But the answer is there are many children who do not experience those innocent moments of childhood when one is not supposed to worry about responsibilities, about war, about family’s expenses. They have to work and sell their childhood happiness to buy a better tomorrow, which they may never see!!!

Autobiography (part 1)

In the chapter “Heat and Rain,” Moon Vasant describes his beautiful boyhood during hot days in summer. Reading one page after another, I am ecstatic to live in Moon’s colorful life and observe the appearance of strange fruits and ceremonies. Through the lines, I smell the flavors and taste the sweetness of different kinds of fruit. I hear the shouts and laughter of the kids when it begins to rain. I also feel their fears when they steal food. All of the imageries remind me to my own childhood when I used to share the same experiences with my friends. We would steal fruit from our neighbors due to having fun rather than suffering hunger. We would endeavor to jump over high fences to “harvest” ripe fruits; we would shout out when we were tightly holding these fruits in hands, and we would run as fast as we could whenever we noticed a slight sound. Being so innocent, we would even take showers in rain without wearing clothes. We would run houses after houses in order to invite our friends to join us. After that, all of us would race to a big damp in another village and even dived ourselves into it. After savoring enough the influx of water from the mouth of a huge dragon in the sky (our childish beliefs), we would go back home with enough zeal and energy. Sometimes, I wonder why our parents were so lenient in those days. Indeed, they didn’t say a word or forbid us to expose to the dirty water in the damp.

 

Usually, I wonder why people’s attributes change as time elapses because those beautiful days seem to disappear when we grow older. Maybe, today, we are mature birds with solid wings, so we can find our own directions and ways to our nests. Maybe, we are now independent enough to find food and establish new relationships ourselves. Maybe, those hobbies seem to be absurd for us, adults in the contemporary society. I don’t know the exact answer. However, I exactly know a truth that I have never felt remorseful for those beautiful days.

The Life Is Hard, What Can We Do?

In the chapter “Callousness and Clouds” of1 the autobiography Growing Up Untouchability in India, Vacant Moon talked about the hard period of time when his family suffered from a lot of dilemmas in their life. After leaving from his father who was addicted to drinking and beating his mother, he lost his father. Then, their house was irrationally taken away by his grandfather’s unofficial son. Consequently, their life seemed to be fallen in a dark “hole”.

Before his grandfather died, Vasant Moon’s life was full of flowers. Although living in low caste, he experienced a lot of things from his grandfather’s modern perspectives and lifestyle. His grandfather always cared for and protected his daughter and grandchildren. In other words, Moon lived in love and care. Then, their happy life terminated when his grandfather died. Obviously, he didn’t want it, but the life still went on and they had to accept the “cloud.”

Likewise, there are always some spots in everyone’s life. The play Death of a Salesman written by Arthur Miller exemplifies the idea that life does not always flow smoothly as we all expect. At first, no one in the Willy Loman’s family could think that their life would turn to the opposite side. The demise of their affluence life came, and they unwillingly accepted it. After the economic recession, they led in a miserable life appearing to change their traits. Willy, a confident person in the past, altered to be unemployed with no money to support his family. The two children didn’t have a decent job, and their former friends were no longer close to them. They often thought of their past when they had been happy with their money, power, and status.

The life is so hard, indeed. Apparently, we don’t want to be born in a miserable condition. We don’t like to see dissociation. We hate to be betrayed. We are shocked to know our grandmother passed away. Yet can we change anything? Sometimes, we still have to suffer from such situations. In fact, problems always exist in our lives; however, our perspectives and reception are the predominant factor of what and how our lives are. I wonder how many people in the world are satisfied with their lives. And I believe that must be optimistic people who think obstacles are something to make their lives be more colorful. As a Vietnamese saying goes, “Rivers are sinuous; people’s lives are also enigmatic, occasionally.” The saying is written to encourage people who are in difficult time to be courageous to prevail over their “clouds”. If we adhere to the feeling of sorrow and do nothing to enhance ourselves, we can never defeat it. I hope that everyone will realize and apply it in their lives.

Thu

My own Rainy days

The chapter “Heat and Rain” in Vasant Moon’s autobiography Growing Up Untouchables in India talks about Moon’s childhood experiences during the summer and monsoon season in his village. He beautifully writes about people’s activities and their lifestyles during these days. After reading the chapter, I could not stop thinking about my own community and my experiences, especially during rainy seasons.

Similar to India, as described by Moon in his autobiography, Nepal also has monsoon season that follows the summer. Moon describes that in the scorching days of summer, people in his village felt lazy and tired. They were not seen working in the fields, but rather seen relaxing outside under the shade of trees to feel the cool breeze. Similarly, my community people dislike summer days; they like to work less during summer in comparison to other seasons. They feel tired soon and lack enthusiasm to do their work. However, as the monsoon days approach, each drop of rain acts as a new hope and aspiration to them. Being tired of working in the hot days of summer, they feel pleasure when they see dark clouds in the sky. Rainfall makes people feel calm and peaceful. During rainy days, they prefer staying at home and gossiping with the family members, which by chance bring every member together, who would be otherwise busy at their work.

Talking about my own experiences, I often found my community more beautiful and refreshing during rainy days than other days. Rain would wash away the dirt and make the surrounding fresh and clean. I could still imagine the scene when small children danced and played outside in the rain, while their mothers shouted at them to come inside home so that they did not catch fever. Moreover, rainy days used to be always fun days for me and my brother. We would make paper boats and sail them on the small, narrow gutter of my house. He would stay in one end of the gutter and sail those paper boats, while I would wait for those boats on the other end. In the afternoon, my mother would make pakodas for tea, and the best moment of the rainy days was to savor those delicious pakodas and watch the rainfall outside. Besides, seeing small ducklings float on the water-filled ditches used to be a tranquilizing experience for me. Hence, I used to enjoy rainy days in my community.

Our Heat and Rain

Nature plays a huge role in one’s childhood as one remains closest to the nature in that period of time. In the chapter “Heat And Rain,” we read about the nature around Vasant Moon when he was a child. Reading the chapter I got to know that how his childhood orientedaround the nature. He used to steal fruit from the tree, catch crabs from the river, and dance in the rain along with other boys. It seems like nature used be a mother to them. They enjoyed the endless blessing of the nature. At the same, they also had to tolerate the wrath of nature during summer. For a time being, they had to face the scorching heat of the sun, but after someday, rain used to bring them relief. I also hear the same kind of stories of childhood from my uncles and father.

Hearing all these stories, I can’t even think of comparing my childhood with them. The total scenario of a childhood in urban area is completely different than the one in rural area. I spent my childhood amongst a concrete jungle, which was full of buildings, traffic jam, and noise. Picking unknown fruits and eating them was quiet impossible for me because they could cause illness. I couldn’t dare to think about catching something from the river or even pond as I didn’t know how to swim. I don’t know that even
now.  I guess these are the same condition in case of most of my peers. We were kind of detached from the Mother Nature. Most of us get introduced with the nature while reading science in schools. We don’t even feel the heat of summer and the shower of rain
now-a-days. We can feel the cold of December in summer by seating in an air-conditioned room. When it rains, we just enjoy the view from our bedrooms, holding a mug of hot coffee. It’s not like we never want to dance in the rain, but most of the time we just defer to our parents. So, that’s how our childhood was, which is continuing till now. Unfortunately and most probably, it will continue to our next generations as well.

At last, I would like to end with a funny story that stroke my mind while reading this chapter. The story is about my father when he was a child and used to live in a village. There were several date trees in that village, and owner of those trees used to hang clay jars on their top to collect date juice dripping from there. At night, my father along with his friends used to steal those jars and drink the juice. After that, they used to show their generosity by hanging those jars to the same place. Instead of hanging the jars empty, the boys used to pee in those jars so that the owners couldn’t get to know about the theft at first when they came to collect them at the early morning. So, that’s the way my father’s childhood was, which sometimes makes me very jealous of him.

In response to “Heat and Rain”

“Oh! It is too hot at outside, maa. Please give me a glass of green coconut water or lemon juice.” When we were in our village, we used to say it to our mother after coming back from the playground. My village was one of the villages which were surrounded by many kinds of fruit trees like mango trees, jackfruit trees, blackberry trees, and litchi trees. Although lots of trees were there, summer was terrible there.
When I read the chapter “Heat and Rain” of the autobiography Untouchables in India written by Basant Moon, I started to think about what were happened in our village when it was summer. In “Heat and Rain,” Moon describes about people’s thirst for having their bodies wet by drops if rains in the summer. It is also described that children of the village used to steal the fruit as they didn’t have enough food to eat in their home.
After reading the chapter, I reminisced that in our village also children used to steal the fruit from others trees at noon, when the owners were sleeping. Some children used to do it just for fun, but most of the children used to steal only because of poverty. Their parents only could provide them with rice for two times a day, and they ate the rice with the spinaches collected from the doba (a very small pond, and the water of it was very dirty). Children of these families could not even think of telling their parents to buy some fruits for them, and that’s why they used to steal the fruit.
Another thing also used to happen in summer. When it was too hot, but there was no possibility of raining, people of our village, especially the farmers, whose crops were dying due to lack of rain, used to perform some rituals to call the rain to come. Muslim people used to arrange milaad (one kind of prayer) to beg to the God for rain, and Hindu people also do some puja for it. Surprisingly, after two or three days, rain came and wet the hot earth with its cold water.