Through his eyes – 14

When the daylight started receding there would be deafening noise everywhere from the chirping of birds, accentuated by the buzzing of insects; frogs would wait till monsoon. With further dimming of daylight it would appear as if the stars from the sky had suddenly fallen on the grass land and transformed into fireflies, thousands and thousands of them. Boys and girls would catch fireflies and put them into glass bottles to observe more closely.
The mesmerizing beauty of nature which prevailed during the day and reached its zenith in the early evening would soon be robbed by fearful and mysterious darkness made more prominent by all kinds of nocturnal sounds of stray dogs, foxes, owls, bats, locusts etc.
There were few street lights but the lights were dim and their yellowish hue made everything appeared like a ghost. One of the bamboo plantations was so huge and dense that even day light failed to probe what was inside; it lied in between his house and the main street. Nothing was scarier than walking on the lane which ran in between that plantation at one side and a huge rice field on the other. He always heard strange whistling sounds when he had walked on that lane during the day. Walking on that lane alone after dark was unimaginable.

During the India Pakistan war all the street lights were covered with some strange looking black objects having a look like a magician’s hat, upside down, to block part of the light in such a way that the light which touched the ground appeared like the crescent of the moon. One day he went with his father to the town and there he saw a tram. He was unable to move for some time. He had heard people talking about travelling by tram but he had never believed that he would be able to see it one day. He could never imagine that a car could be so long. It was standing on two parallel iron tracks; it had a large rod on its roof touching an overhead wire. He saw one middle aged man wearing khaki uniform sitting inside along with few other people. When he asked his father who they were, his father told that the man in uniform was the conductor and the others were passengers. His father told him that the tram would be waiting there for some time. Just beside the road, where the tram was waiting there was an oil mill which was creating a monotonous repetitive sound and there was also a profound pungent smell of crushed mustard. His father purchased oil from there. Standing at the oil mill, which was at the junction of two roads, he saw a wide road on which every single bus and car was travelling at a very high speed. He had never seen anything moving so fast. There were manual rickshaws, bicycles and people were also walking on the same road. On the other side of the road there were few houses and beyond that there was nothing but deep blue sky and trees. He asked his father if they could travel somewhere by the tram. His father looked at his wrist watch and told him that it was already getting late but promised him that next time when they would come to the town both of them would travel in a tram.
When people started talking about war with Pakistan he thought that Pakistan was just across the road on which buses and cars were running at high speed.

[To be continued]

Email: mintughoshal@gmail.com

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