Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Good Old Days


Ever thought about life in the old days? I have and i conjured up these images.

Back then lands were fertile. Rains never failed. Water flowed freely, freshly and abundantly. The crops did exceptionally well. The fruits of the lands were bountiful. Food was available in plenty and variety was not a problem. The world was innocent and uniquely exotic.

Back then education was fun. We learnt through songs, myths and tales. And more importantly through practical experiences infused in the activities we did daily. The boys went herding in the thick of the forest where pasture was greenest. Consequently they learnt the secrets of the woods; the healing power of the herbs and the sacred trees cherished by the community. The girls sought firewood, drew water from the river; playing games and telling stories of the great mothers of the past.

Back then, the grandma and grandpa inspired our young minds with tales of ancient days. They awed us with their mastery of the language, how we wished to speak like them! Seated round that fire place, where the burning embers of wood never stopped blazing, we would start with riddles. Unraveling from the terse pithy statements the secrets of the environment; the nitty-gritties of math simultaneously enjoying the wits of each other. The stories would then come, from the mouths of the old men/women, with memorable moral lessons that shaped the character and behavior that we possessed later on- in our lives in the community.

Back then, the sounds of the drums told us so much: the arrival of a new member; a warrior or a maid, the naming ceremony or the wedding feast where nuptial bliss would be sealed. And the sad notes of the drums would give the alarm of the dreaded monster- death. What about the smoke? The fire signal? Weren’t they enough for communication? The messenger was an important person, taking messages of love and war, of peace and death; and he (messenger) was powerful.

Back then, age meant wisdom. Elders were the custodians of law and ways of the people. They decided cases of great magnitude through the council of elders; and yes! They were always right! The young men were strong and courageous. Charged with the responsibility of protecting the community, they were never inept. They diligently took that task without dispute and it did not scare them! Their maxim was only one: 'to death for the community.' Children were taught by everybody. That is, everybody had a right to discipline them! And the respected mothers taught the girls and fed the clan.

Back then marriage was special. The man and the woman literally 'knew' each other on their first night together. They were both pure! Yet we did not have clothes! None lacked a partner, none was ugly and none enjoyed staying single.

Back then I suppose things were good and life was great. If I were to make a wish, I would go 'back then' and come back a year later because I still enjoy life as it is now

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