A SHORT STORY ABOUT INDIANS
FROM EAST AFRICA
(this has been around for a while, apologies if you have already seen it)
This is how we Indians grew up in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.!!!
What a life it was! we were innocent, frank and straight with people at home, at school and within the community and society.
Our childhood was like an adventure, exploration, expedition and an unassigned project to accomplish without the present time luxury, hi-fi tools, unbelievable facilities and with not so much help provided.
No school loans, grants, financial aid or scholarships.
Instead, it was filled with lots of fun, excitement, enthusiasm, trust, expectation, commitment and responsibility.
Although not so very easy - always and filled with some hardship, life was beautiful and excellent.!!!
Our love and respect for our parents was second to none, and our respect for our teachers and elders in the community and society was in our genes
We gladly looked after our younger brothers and sisters without any selfish motive and fuss. We felt it was our prime and moral duty.
We attended temples, Gurudwaras, Churches, Mosques, Jamat Khannas and prayed regularly and respected all religions
We integrated socially and culturally with people from all religions, class or creed.
In essence, we enjoyed life.!!!
To all the wonderful kids who were born in wonderful East Africa and survived the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's.
We had mothers who did not check our or their blood pressure or the temperature every few minutes.
We never saw or wore the present time diapers, nappies and liners.
We bounced our selves without a bouncer and peacefully slept without a baby cot.
We sucked cow milk from a soda bottle without being sterilized or warmed in a bottle warmer. We slept during our sleep times be it day or night without monitors or blippers. There were no nurses or doctors to pamper the mums, babies and children all the time. Our baby cribs and bassinets were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets. We rode our bikes without helmets, gloves and guards. As children, we would ride in cars which had no child safety door locks, seat belts or airbags. Sometimes we sat on each other's laps for God's sake.!!!
We shared one soft drink with juugus in it, among four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from that. We would share bhajia's, mix, mogo chips and dips or a eat chapatti and rice from someone else's plate of curry without batting an eyelid.
We ate jam sandwiches or pickle on bread and butter, raw mangoes with salt that set our teeth on edge or a grilled makaai and mogo and drank orange squash. We ate at roadside stalls, drank madaffu water, ate everything that was bad for us from karangaa, kachri, makaai, muhogo, channa batetaa, bhel puri to maru bhajias and samosas. Yet we weren't overweight and falling sick as we were always outside playing freely and burning our calories keeping fit, fine and happy. During holidays we would leave home in the morning and play out all day, we were never ever "bored" and were allowed freedom all day, as long as we were back home at a given time. We would dare not be late.!!!
We were innovative and creative making and building things from and out of scraps and junk of old pram wheels and bicycle rims, made kites using used newspapers, playing traditional games called Santa kukdi, pakda pakdi, nagel, khokho, hutuutu, thappo and rounders. Luxury and things related to it were far beyond our imagination, expectation and reach. We were taught and groomed to be content.
We played, ran and walked barefoot without even being concerned about it if we got cut and bled we used tincture of iodine or spirit on the wound and it was ok and fine with us. We did not wash our hands ten times a day. And we were OK.!!!
We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, video games, no 99 channels on cable, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no desktop pc, no laptops, no I-Pods or I Pads, no internet or internet chat rooms, no TV, no hi-fi and Wi fi.
We just simply had a BUSH, PYE, PHILLIPS, MURPHY OR A GRUNDIG 2 OR 3 band Radio placed in the family sitting room to be shared by all.!!!
We did not have parents, who would ask us questions like...... What would you like to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner.? We ate what was put in front of us. No menu, no choice, no fuss, no waste and no leftovers.!!! After dinner every night in almost every household the school going children must recite all the times’ tables from 1 up to 25 before going to sleep.!!!
We had very loving, caring and wonderful friends. Their loving parents whom we very fondly called UNCLE and AUNTY, and we were not treated any different from their own children by them.!!! We fell from the trees numerous times, got cut, hurt, bled, broke bones and teeth and there were no compensation claims, but only a to be strong, rise again and move on consolation.!!!
We ate fruits fallen on the ground, never washed them and yet never had any viruses or infections of any kind.!!!
We used to bath using a bucket, a koppo and Lifebuoy soap. We did not know what shampoo, conditioner or a bath and body wash...
We rode bicycles everywhere in the town with someone sitting on the carrier or crossbar to school, cinema or playgrounds.
Knocked on the door of a friend's house and were welcomed without any hesitation and would be treated with some goodies.!!!
This generation of ours has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, inventors, winners and the most successful people ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas with some failures and most successes.!!!
We had patience, understanding, discipline, respect, maturity, wisdom, motivation, commitment and responsibility.
And above all!
We learned and survived the hard way and had our parents and grandparents who were overseeing us, with their experience, guidance and blessings.!!!!!