Changing Times…

Those were those innocent days of my childhood when worldly goodness or badness really didnt mean anything. Those carefree days, i long to relish once again, but, not all your wishes turn true.

It were those summer days when my dad took me to native place. My village, then was a typical village in picturesque Konkan. God has blessed the land with all good things. Ample rain, suitable climate, sea on one side, lush greenery almost year long. All this makes Konkan a paradise to witness. Those were the days when electricity had not reached my village and the evenings were a bit boring, given the background that i was born and brought up in Mumbai.

My village was near a creek and on the other side of the creek was Goa. My cousin brother had a tea and snacks stall on the beach near the jetty. The beach was a bit away from the main village. I enjoyed being there more than being at home. I used to stay at home only for bath, lunch and dinner.

I remember those magical evenings. Sitting in the canteen, and what a canteen it was, a mud structure, thatched with coconut leaves. no covers, just an open structure, one could see far away from inside the canteen.

At around 6 O’clock bullock carts used to come loaded with cashew fruits, and then the stream of bullock carts one after the another used to come in a queue. All the carts used to get unloaded in small dingy boats, these fruits were transported to Goa, for making Pheni, a local alcohol of Goa. All the transactions were in cash and the farmers used to get hard cash.

After emptying the carts, these farmers would tie their bullocks to nearby coconut trees, feed them, and clean their carts with creek water.

And then, they would enter the canteen for some tea and snacks. And then the whole canteen would get jam packed with those people. What a scene it used to be, the whole canteen with people from different villages, talking, smoking, cracking jokes, sharing experiences and stories (and rumours about ghosts, evil spirits etc).

After enjoying their cuppa tea, they would start leaving to their villages. One beautiful thing was that the bullocks were so familiar with the routes that the farmers would just sleep behind and the bullock cart would reach to their respective places.

This routine used to continue till 10 pm in the night, then my dad and i would sit in some of the bullock cart and go back to village for dinner. After dinner by 11.30pm we would again walk back to the beach, and sleep atop the rows of Mangalorean Tiles, which were kept there for onward transport.

The open beach, the canvas of clear sky, with moon and twinkling stars to accompany you, the odd sound of chirping bird made the night look so enchanting, that one would never like to come back to the starking real world.

Things have moved in quite a pace. About two decades have passed now, and the progress has changed everything, unfortunately, it has changed even people. Gone are those days of simple village folks, loving, dotting & caring people. People who worried only about their next square meals.

Gone are those bullock carts and gone are those poor farmers. Now you see youngsters riding bikes and jeeps and cars. The economic development has enlarged their bank balances but has unfortunately shrunk their hearts. One who have witnessed the past can most certainly agree with me. But, time changes, and one has to change, whether the change is for good or bad can be a debatable issue.

But for a person like me, i would still love to be in those days, when life was more simple and uncomplicated, where people talked with their hearts and had no ill will about others.

I still remember those days, everytime, i go to my native place, i keep on looking at those trees and those roads, which are now in concrete, i meet some of those people, who are unlike before, money really… is such a corrupting factor after all..

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