The Then, Night Life
It is almost three hours after getting dark in the winter season and it is only 8:00 PM but for me the night has just started. Grabbing the cup filled at the brim with the maize brew, I took my last bottom sip to let sister collect the cup together with the plate that has been left on the floor after our dinner. The maize alcohol brew is a staple drink that we use to have with my dad served by sister to overcome the daily body pain we use to have from the hard works. As soon as I sipped down and hand over the cup to sister to be washed I check the back of the door to get the broom to sweep the floor to make bed for dad. Our one storied one room home is the place we sleep, eat and use as the store.
Making the bed ready for my dad to sleep near the warm mud oven to beat the cold, I then check the shelve above the oven for the torch batteries that I had kept it there in the morning to be recharged by the heat from the fire below during the day time. Keeping an old torch for dad near his pillow to use it when he goes to toilet, I then take the new battery for myself and then feeds into the newly bought torch. Mean time, my nephew Karma has started calling me from outside to go to their night house, where all young boys of the whole village has a particular empty house in the village to sleep together. Taking the torch and listening the guidance and programs for next day from dad, I then inform him that, I am going to join Karma who was waiting for me outside in the cold winter breeze. He understands and bids good night message to each other.
As soon as I leave the house, the night life starts then. All the young people in the village during this winter season seem to me like enjoying two different type of life during those olden days. A working life during the sun time and entertainment life during the moon time. As my nephew and I would take the path towards the house we use to sleep, we make sure that we stops at the community water tap to wash and make ourselves rid of the day long sweat smell and the dirt we would be carrying. Though the winter breeze would be strong enough to freeze us when we touch the water, our urges to get clean during the entertaining moon time help us makes feel the water hot. By the time, we finish cleaning, we would then see many flashes of torches from other side of the village which tempts us to move faster and inform their village friends waiting at the house about the night life going on the other side of the village.
About dozen of boys would then gather together every night and though all are exhausted from the day long work, we would never sleep and give our body rest, rather we start new and adventurous plans and sometimes silly activities, which make us unable to show faces in front of the village people the next morning. Though every person coming to sleep there would bring their own blanket, nobody would bring a mattress to sleep, so any friend who has more jute sacks at home would bring as a mattress so that there is something for us to sleep on. And most of the time, half of the night would be finished by playing card games keeping bet to bring local wine and maize brew the next day to drink away from home with young boy friend away from home. But, those friends whom they have enough radishes at home would bring it voluntarily to make salad during the alcohol session.
Sometimes, winter night are taken without any sleep. As it is a season for oranges, good climber friends would then have already marked the trees during the day time and then plan a robbery it during the night time. By morning, the whole house that we use to sleep would smell of oranges and the from our body too. And that is the time that responsible person like me, and few elder should interfere as middle men to settle the issue of orchard owner and us. But as a life of a boy is naughty, villager has to accept it as they also did the same before then. Sugarcane, sweet potatoes, pomegranates and peas are the main target that we use to make and those unlucky and rich orchards are the loser to this wild young guy who enjoy the time under the cover of the moon.
Frequently, the crawling of bad boys happens under the dark shadow on the windows of the other houses searching for girls. We would catch hold on little conversation from the windows if possible and manage to get in without letting anyone sense the presence, but most of the time, we would get chased away. But in return, we would hang nettle plant from the door, which in the morning, would hit the forehead with pain for those who were harsh for us during out pursuit.
Till this day, these sorts of days are very much missed and we long to get back to this time. Whenever we meet together away from home in the city with any of my friends, we cherished this passed memories during the then night life of ours.