When I was a young boy | india | Hindustan Times
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When I was a young boy

Living in a small town of Punjab, we used to travel on foot for about five kilometers to go to our school/college. There was no pollution in the air and our lungs were filled with fresh air every time we went to our school/college or came back from it. Womenfolk had also to walk many kilometers on foot to go to bazaar and come back from it.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 19:55 IST

Living in a small town of Punjab, we used to travel on foot for about five kilometers to go to our school/college. There was no pollution in the air and our lungs were filled with fresh air every time we went to our school/college or came back from it. Womenfolk had also to walk many kilometers on foot to go to bazaar and come back from it. No doctors in those days prescribed any exercise to anybody in our small town.

Our houses in the town were built in such a way that fresh air and sunshine came freely and we do not have to switch on lights during the daytime for during our studies. There were very few people who had problems relating to eyesight. There were hardly any thefts in the town because people knew each other. My aunt went around the whole town without locking her house and there was no theft in her house. There was very less exchange of paper money and vegetables were sold in the surrounding village against the wheat/maize. We used to take maize to the woman who made our maize into popcorns by keeping something out of the maize for herself.

There was barter trade and Government had no need to print so many notes in those days. Then due to population problem which my small town faced with the rest of the country, people from the town started leaving for UK, USA, Canada, Delhi or Mumbai, etc. wherever they could find the job to provide them with a livelihood. I came to Delhi to work in the Secretariat.

Now when I am old and retired after having worked in Delhi for about 36 years, the doctor has advised me to go to a park. So, I try to go to a park in the morning or in the evening. I find that many people come in their scooters/cars to do the walking and enjoy fresh air of the park. People no longer travel to their schools on foot and wait for the bus to come or they take rickshaw to reach the school. As a babu, I had also traveled to my workplace by bus and worked under electric light during daytime. So, I lost my practice of walking. The air in Delhi is so polluted that I am not sure whether we get fresh air in the parks also.

I do not know whether my younger days in the small town in Punjab were better when I had no facility like TV etc. or the progressive life I lead in Delhi having a TV etc. is better particularly when I have to walk to the park and keep on walking there on doctor's prescription. Better medical facilities may have increased the life expectancy but the life has become so artificial what with paper money, reading under electric light in daytime, taking exercises on the prescription of a doctor and expressing our emotions on the pattern of what we see in the films and TV serials.