Childhood Memories ….
I clearly remember my childhood days. I used to collect fallen paddy ear-heads from the paddy fields along with my elder sister just after the paddy crop had been harvested. We used to the stumble upon the “Earthworm Soils’ ( locally termed as “kechomati” ) which were hard and injuring to the bare feet causing bruises and bleeding.
In those days the little children used to collect the ripe, severed, fallen paddy ear-heads from the fields to collect pocket money of their own ! This had been a great fun for them in paddy harvest season leading to several harvest festivals known as “Navanna”, “Poush sankranti”.
The ‘collection’ of the ripe paddy ear-heads had not been a joint enterprise, rather it had been separate enterprises for us. So it used to be highly competitive task with my elder sister racing towards picking up more ear-heads than me and vice versa. This would be more joyful under the mild winter sun with other people of our village engaged in their paddy harvesting, dumping, loading and carrying activities around. All of the villagers are generally well-acquainted with each other. At that time the relationship would be better than we see nowadays and there would be an atmosphere of amity and comity in the meadow where harvesting operations used to be an occasion of joy and happiness for all and sundry.
In our joy over collecting the paddy ear-heads we used to forget of the bruises and pains of stumbling over the hard earthworms dunes which would be very frequent in numbers. And nowadays , you will not find those earthworm dunes in the paddy fields. This is just unthinkable ! The soil have become more solidified and hardened reflecting more heat to the atmosphere, absorbing and stabilizing less of it.