Saturday, July 26, 2008
Lily Boy ...
I finally made my splash it into water... and Dad is a proud person. The ace swimmer of his village, who nearly made it to the state level events had always this in his mind that I can't swim.
Today, in his late 50's he can swim effortlessly for hours in the broadest and wildest of rivers in Orissa, the eastern Indian state where both of us were born.
In childhood days his swimming pool was the algae infested green village Pond. He understood the pulse of water, snakes, frogs, and all his companions in swimming at a very early age. People say, how once he developed the fancy to beat the water snakes in free style swimming on their own turf.
It went like this his friends would hit the water snakes resting at the coast of the pond and then Dad will make his splash this would ensue at least a 50 meter race side-by-side withe snakes. Which he would win constantly. In his boyhood he had another heroic distinction to his kitty...Protecting the village lilies :)
In coastal villages of Orissa, only some well managed less utilised ponds play host to lillies. They could be pink, blue or white in colour and blossom in all seasons except summer.
In this case the village boys had a gang war like situation:)....the gang war like situation evolved after boys from the other village started stealing pink water lilies from the pond in which Dad and his friends were swimming.
The lilies were so important...why?... because unmarried village girls would adorn them during the 'Rojo' festival, a way of welcoming rain God, crucial for sustainable food production and the rural economy.
So in village parlance in those days lilies were almost like diamonds. Stakes were high for those lilies about 500 in number all blossoming to the fullest...the festival is tomorrow...
It was a half moon night when five boys decided to stay awake to protect the pond from the attack of the foreign boys :)
They had rice flakes and jaggery with them for food and by 9 'O clock in the night the boys swam midway through the river and took positions on the small island like structure inside the river. It was drizzling Dad and others had to wait for about 7 hours before the enemies strike. It was 4 a.m, early in the morning but with rain and clouds the vision was not clear. Shankarda, Dad's friend could see some underwater movement and informed his gang.
Dad took the lead and along with his four friends staged an underwater fight with the enemies, who were double in number.
Most in Dad's team lost the fight and pleaded for a safe passage to the pond coast and allowed the boys from the other village to take the lilies. But Dad was not to oblige. But didn't have much choice to make. He chose a dangerous one....:)) to stay and fight till he can... the result was not easy... biggest boy the other village got him by his neck and pushed him underwater......after some resistance Dad overpowered him and the rest was recorded in his villages history. With the chief inside water his sub-ordinates panicked. By that time villagers came to understand about the underwater fight. All of them were caught and at the age of 9, Dad was a saviour for the villages lilies and maidens too:)...
Since then he's called the Lily boy in his village.
Note: The biog boy whom, Dad got into underwater later helped Dad in his studies and remained his mentor forever...Happy ending........
It took me two days to write the blog and the update is that I can swim even better .....