Read the extract from a story in ‘Snippets of Life Music’ and feel the recollections of childhood spent in a village.
“Threshing floor,” Deep repeated, looking up from his food and turning to me with a dreamy look in his eyes. “Oh it brings back bitter-sweet memories for me. I had to drive a pair of oxen, yoked together, round and round in circles over a circular bed of dried wheat plants in the heat of the midday sun and to continue doing it until dusk. Sometimes my father would harness the animals to a threshing sledge and ask me to drive them, standing on the runners, so that the stems and husks might be crushed and seeds could be separated from the straw faster. It was sort of a very exhausting job because we had to work in the blistering afternoon sun and the dry blades or bristles on the glumes of spikelets made tiny cuts in the skin. Sometimes I was so tired of the merry-go-round of the job that I longed for someone else to do that for me. But my father, on the contrary, would go off, leaving me to carry on alone. I could do nothing except look out for someone in the vain hope that he would replace me. By then my father would return and instead of relieving me he would start turning over the sheaves. Sometimes when my inner voice prompted me to do my revision, I would implore him to drive the oxen for some time. But he often went mad at me and commanded me to get on with that. The harvest and threshing season during the summer vacations required the most concentrated labour activity. I was not allowed a break, even if I had hay fever. Anyway, it was all a tough life but not always without charm. A good many people would gather at the threshing ground after the sun went down and the evening cooled off. We would sit on the soft circular carpet of the trodden out straw in groups. The grown-ups told us fascinating stories of kings and queens of ancient India and with that we would forget the hard day’s work. After dinner, we would come back to that bed of nature and fall into a deep dreamless sleep which no king had ever had on their royal….
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