My Magnum Opus - by Arifa Khan - Publishing Offers Welcome
edited: Thursday, April 30, 2009
By Arifa Khan
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Thursday, April 30, 2009
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Fiction set in a quaint little Indian town - based on true life story of the author
Publishing offers welcome
"All of life’s delicacies, I enjoyed while still a child. Now that I have seen expanded horizons of life, across several geographies, I feel my merriment as a child had little to do with childhood itself, the conventional eulogies associated with childhood notwithstanding, and everything to do with the milieu. The spicy, vibrant, village life, with all its delicious flavors, raw energy, and innocence.
Fairs brizzled with children dressed in bright clothes, merry-go-rounds waited for shy young couples and children to take rides, and earthen pots were sprawled along muddy roads to be sold to eager women, some adorning bright red kumkum on their wide foreheads announcing their married status, and some clad in black burkhahs who had ventured out of their cozy homes looking for bargains. Children looked forward to ‘Bagh Tamasha’, an annual affair that took place on Aakhri Chahshumba, the last Wednesday of the year when the entire village packed itself into several horse carriages, and the fistful of motor vehicles owned by wealthy Zamindar families, to a nearby orchard where women took out their clay pots, meat, rice and spices and engaged themselves in cooking, young men busied themselves in making swings and bringing water from nearby wells for cooking, while children chased each other around the trees and made merry. Young men and women splashed water and teased each other, and indulged in coquetry, usually forbidden in the precincts of their homes. It was the time young girls preened like butterflies, in multi-hued shawls and waited for boys to swing them high in the air. Swings would be set up in mango orchards that threw the rider up and made her feel weightless mid-air. That is as far as the mating went, atleast with the love affairs of the young. If such instances did lead young couples to fall in love, the boy would be unusually resolute in marrying the girl of his heart. There would be tantrums thrown by parents of each party, usually touting imagined differences in social status. How could there be any significant differences, if they all fall in the uneducated, middle to lower class of the village. There are instances of weak-hearted girls or boys who could not say no to their parents, and committed suicides, unlike their city bred counterparts who would close the particular love-chapter and move-on to their next love-interest.
The place was thronged with small carts selling sweetmeats, coloured sorbets, goggles, kites and ice creams. Children would be delighted to spend all their pocket money savings and buy one or two of the displayed ….If the child made a not so wise investment, the sale would be followed by a furious mother who would come back with the kid to return the item, with some blandishment directed at the merchant– ‘the child does not have common sense, do you also not have any?’"