Gopinathpur, a village in the interiors of Bengal, several kilometers from the town of Mecheda was an idyllic place for a child to grow up in. Our member, Ms M. Seet, was raised there; her mind today is full of bittersweet memories. The rusticity was charming, the clay road from Mecheda to Gopinathpur did not bother the children, as they walked through the lush green paddy fields, extending for miles, mud houses, muddy roads… nothing mattered. Not even when they turned slushy during the monsoon.
In fact, they would often take a short cut through fields, walking on the narrow raised track between fields, enjoying the changing colours of the crops, wiling away time playing on the fields and also studying. She went to the local primary school. There were no benches and they sat in floor mats.
There was no electricity and it turned pitch dark after sunset. They were happy with the flickering hurricane lamps that every house had. The passing of her mother at a very early age made life a little difficult. Then her older sister got married and she had to take charge of her younger siblings. It was a struggle, managing both the home and studies at that tender age. There was no shortage of fun though. She clearly remembers the Rathh (chariot) festival in the village. Everyone competed to pull the rope of the chariot but it was no easy task. If it rained and the earth was slippery, they would invariably fall. That added to the fun and the excitement of
the competition. There was also the Rathh’er mela (chariot fair) with all the little things on sale that was most exciting; the papad (thin, crisp, round flatbread) available at the fair was particularly special. It is all still fresh in her mind.
Then came the “Jatras” (folk theatre) in winter, which the villagers looked forward to. People finished all household chores early to reach the arena early and grab the front seats. All seating was on the floor, covered with floor mats.
Oh! The joys of simple living; she remembers it all today. The little money they had and yet the fulsome enjoyment.
(As narrated to Support Elders by our member)
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