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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Sugarcane hunt!

Summer holidays always came with their share of fun. Our father had spoiled us with visits to exotic locations every summer such as Shimla, Leh and Goa. So, when he told us we would be travelling to a village that summer; we both-brother and sister duo had a small heart attack! What would be the fun in the old undeveloped village? We were soon to find out! 

My grandmother’s elder brother along with his family stayed in a village known as ‘Malowaal’ in Punjab near Rajpura. There was a wedding in the family and hence our summer holidays would be ‘enjoyed’ there.
With no TV to watch and electricity hardly available for 6 hours a day, we got bored to the core! No attention was paid to our tantrums as we pleaded to be taken back to civilization; so we decided to make best of the situation! The duo slipped out of house early next morning to find some adventure.

The cold fresh air blew in our face as we rode the bicycle ‘borrowed’ from our ‘village cousins’. It was perhaps the first time that we had got up so early in the morning. We had finally become villagers! It was the time of the year when mustard flowers made all the fields yellow in colour; a perfect setting for shooting love scene of a bollywood movie! It was all out of a dream, nature could be so beautiful, we could never imagine! As we rode further, our eyes fell on the sugarcane crop at the side of the road. We exchanged glances!

Quickly getting down from the bicycle, and hiding it behind a nearby tree; we both entered the field. Just as we were about to pull out a ‘ganna’ (sugarcane), we saw a man with a ‘lathi’ (big wooden stick) coming towards us. He was tall, with only a dhoti tied to his waist. His large black moustache was curled up. Scared to death, we stood still. Even our limbs could not move; we prayed somehow we could fly! He approached us and asked our names. ‘We would be handed over to Police for stealing Gannas’ such thoughts crossed my mind! He held my brother’s hand and asked me to follow. Then at the other of the field, he stopped and pulled out two gannas. Handing them to us he said “Here, taste them, these would be ripe.” We both smiled confusingly! This man here was not handing us over to Police?

After we enjoyed fresh sugarcane early morning, he put our bicycle on his tractor and drove towards our home. The ride was nothing less than a royalty for us; we felt like King and Queen! In between we stopped over to get some freshly made ‘Gur’ (Jaggery) in the field. It was hot and so sweet; nothing like we had ever tasted before!

Till the time we reached home, our parents had gone berserk looking for us; while we had the time of our life in the lap of nature beautiful!

Rest of the holidays were spent jumping into the village pond every morning, plucking ripe sugarcane from the fields and listening to stories late at night! It was the best summer vacation we had; with the tall man with a moustache as our guide to all the wonderful secrets of the village!         

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