Rustic Wonderlands: Homesick at Home
Events took quarantined me back to my roots.
Island of discontent
Like neon glow on Tokyo streets, some patches of my day, darker than others, popped out of the backdrop. For minutes or hours, I felt melancholy. But why was this?
Why this feeling?
We feel this way away from home for a long time. Nothing to do, I paid close attention to the signs of the world: gusts of wind, sudden urges, and an unprecedented force.
The lone solution
One day, I was so bored that I followed an ant up through the curtain bends. At that moment, I realised what it all meant. It leads me back to my rural homes.
Now I want to be back home again.
Rural vs Urban Joys
From toys to joys, ways of life vary.
We dress us to cook (or order) “special” food and give gifts for show. But they: follow tradition, include many, and ensure hundreds of full bellies.
My taste buds have adapted to city food. So I miss the creative prowess of my aunts. I do not know their undisclosed recipes, but the secret ingredient is love.
Simple games are always more fun to play. I enjoy few things more than the company of my cousins in ludo! Now you can play on the phone.
“If your eyes hurt, look at the green trees,” mom says. Trees have this magic quality: they never fight back. Rural kids are lucky, for they get to learn from the best teacher: nature.
Often when we go home, our uncles are out working late hours. My parents also work hard, but at different jobs. Mom is a nurse and dad a businessman while my rural uncles run a tea factory, study homeopathy, etc.
Culture shocks come in such small packages, too.
Their every embrace is real, no strings attached.
New light on old word
Whenever I visit, my aunt says, “This is your home.” Since a child, I have been enjoying serene days at our home in Chittagong. But only now do I understand that her words carried more meaning: it is upon me to grow my roots.
Stuffed till bloated
“Have you given him the mashed potatoes?” I always hear such hospitable words from my aunts. They will not let me “escape” with an empty stomach. Though I often see them toil in the kitchen, they seldom sit down with us.
I know that life is hard for some of them more than others. But I feel the same love from them all.
More than comfortable
I would have trouble sleeping at our house. But when we went home, my excitement for a new day lulled me to sleep. Besides, the romantic moonlight, the gentle swaying of leaves, and the murmured voices of blood relatives made for utmost security.
Blood give us vigour to go on.
My Better Counterparts
Cousins are like siblings that see things differently.
I only hear good of them in terms of study. But I know there must be a lot of pressure on my cousins, as is the trend in cities. I respect one of my cousin sisters, Nishu, who is a Lieutenant in the Bangladesh Army. Her brother, Sakib, studies agriculture. Al-Amin has always been unbeatable at chess.
My mom tells me tales of how they got to their school, did morning religious sessions, and taught each other. Such tales humble me. I see only resources–a barrier slowly thinning (with online courses, etc.)–between city and village talent.
All my cousins love their parents, and so they always address them with due respect. I have not seen them behave rudely with elders where we, I included, are guilty of occasional mindless wrongs.
They keep a routine and study with heart. I envy their discipline, if I am being honest. I wish I had the drive.
Within these city walls, a lot goes that, on the outside, is evil. I see a purity in my young cousins that I cannot find elsewhere.
In numbers, there is no strength. But in numbers, there is a scope for unity. My cousins use this to its fullest.
What makes them better?
It exists no competition, but I must commend them on a few points:
• My cousins take fruitful initiatives.
• Also, they spend time with us.
• They always take up a challenge.
• Besides, they learn new things fast.
• As they care for us, they give us gifts and help.
They are better as they have less want.
Longing to Relive
Memories, sweet as wind chimes, cloud my subconscious.
Both my parental homes are on high ground to the North and South. You must cross rugged road to see the tourist destinations. We are not expert trekkers, and so the journey is way more fun!
Ludo and chess
Ah! The timeless classics: ludo and chess. Ludo is a board game where four players take posts at the four corners of the board. It is a game of luck: one rolls die and the sum on them decides their fate. I always long for an extra game when all my cousins become tired.
Going to pray
The loud and clear sound of the Azan is the sweetest sound in the world. Again, dressing up in traditional garb to go to a holy place together to pray excites us. Someone always forgets his cap, and an elder lends him his.
What I’ve Learnt: giving back
This pandemic has taught me gratefulness and altruism.
I do not have a steady income. Yet I want to give little gifts to my youngers when I return to our rural home.
Anything for smiles
Sometimes, we keep some matters to ourselves. Instead, we should express them as much as possible. There is no shame in causing a merry laugh.
A memory has the power to bind souls in this chaotic world. But I do not want memories on a hard disk. Rather, I want to experience my rural world, full of natural beauty and honest and simple people.
No loose ends
I shall leave no question unanswered and no vague ends. Or else, the uncertain future may treat us grimly.
Take me back to the land of raindrops bouncing on rusty tin, yoked cows working, and people toiling through sunshine for golden hay. Oh! You, who call, please take me back to my rustic wonderlands.