Beautiful Village Life

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One morning, I wake up not to the hoarse sound of concrete mixers and diesel generators, but to birds tweeting and chirping invisibly atop the trees around my house. Sitting on the verandah, I see squirrels scurry about, pausing at little fruits dropped from the trees nearby, straighten their moustache, look around and run away. Instead of burning diesel in my SUV and leaving behind a streak of black smoke and coughing people, I pick up my bicycle left leaning against the wall and pedal away into the narrow winding road below a never-ending arch of dense foliage. I hear dry leaves rustle below the thin tyres. I see the cool shade of leaves perforated by inclined shafts of light and honey bees humming around bright blossoms. I pause for moment, stick my fingers into the golden oozing sap and suck a little nectar from a wild flower.

I pedal away against the wind, with nothing but the tossing blades of endless greenery surrounding me. I feel the wind on my skin, and gulp it down through my wide-open mouth. I get down and leave my cycle leaning against the slope. I run through the paddy fields, sometimes pulling at the thin blades of the paddy leaves and sometimes running my finger through them. I hear mud squelch beneath my feet and water splash on my dress.

I return home and call my friends. I just run around and call out their names. No, I don’t need a Facebook or an Orkut. Nor do I need a mobile phone or high-speed broadband to be in touch. Just peeping through their open front door and calling them out is good enough. We run in an unannounced race to the pond, our feet kissing the dusty road. We jump into the cold water polluted with blooming lilies; not with any white frothy chemical of some factory nearby. We dive deep into the water and surface, playing hide and seek with each other. A couple of fish rub against my feet and a dragonfly flies past me close to the water like a tiny remote controlled drone of some unknown enemy.

As the sun mellows down and our shadows grow taller, I don’t sit in front of a flickering screen of pixels and hit away furiously at rubbery buttons that splash my screen with blood and smoke. I chase cows and ducks while they return home. I throw flat stones into water and watch them jump several times. I climb a tree and have a feast twenty feet above the ground.

As night falls, I lie silently on a woven cot listening to unknown insects making an imprompu chorus or to frogs making mating calls. I catch an owl looking ferociously at me from a tree, seemingly blaming me for his sleepless nights.

Suddenly, lik a crazy animation, the whole world around me starts to shrink. The owl attaches to a fruit and the trees kiss the sky. Moon dips into water and birds sleeping in their nests fall to the ground. It keeps shrinking until it disappears into my eyelids.

And I wake up into another morning. Into the sound of concrete mixers.

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