My mother belonged to a remote, nondescript village, Arakuzha, away from the bustle and hustle of the nearby town Muvattupuzha.
Its quiet brooks, bright sun and sand, emerald green rice fields and fresh air would melt even the most unpoetic heart. Its hospitable, innocent people know only to love others and help them overcome their daily worries.
The sprawling residence looked like a farm house. Different agricultural products like rubber, ginger etc were nicely packed in different rooms and the lovely aroma emanating from the cardamom was truly heart warming.
We always had hearty talks with the labourers and they also respected us and loved us with all their heart. Their genuine affection and love made our stay memorable. We enjoyed every minute of our stay at the remote village.
Everyday, the labourers would gather for lunch. It was very interesting to watch what they ate.
Almost all the male workers drank the local drink, toddy (palm wine). The drink was given to them free of cost by my grandfather. This he said, would give them more vigour.
Then the workers would eat cassava (tapioca) and fish curry. The fish was caught from the local river. And the fish tasted fresh and fine. We always had a share of whatever the labourers ate and indeed enjoyed it along with them.
My grandfather considered all the workers as members of his family and looked after them very well. We could never see a tinge of selfishness or disregard among the workers. Together they worked and declared that there was no substitute for hard work.
Those were indeed the days when there were no unions to fight for the rights of the working class. They worked hard (unlike the present workers) and loved their work. And we in turn learned the good lessons of hard work from these simple labourers.
How different is the scenario now when the workers are by and large looking for opportunities to revolt against the capitalistic owners (who in turn do not care about the welfare of the poor workers and sometimes exploit them) who own the farm lands or small firms.
How I wish I could turn the time backward and go back to those sweet days of innocent love and care I had from these workers!