You know how it is when you are growing up and folks (mostly parents, aunts and uncles) are always telling you about how life in their day was stern and earnest. The ‘You-youngsters-have-it-easy’ theme was an all-time favorite. They would gas on about how education was something they loved and why we should not be complaining about how easily education is served on a platter to us. How in their day, they had to walk across the town and then catch a bus that had no seats or fuel(sometimes): all to get to a school, that did not have teachers or roofs?
I always envied their stories. Because the most I could tell my children was that I had a wonderful childhood. It was true that it rained 10 months a year, but that was not nearly as bad as it sounds. When young, splashing in the rain and singing songs while walking up and down the hills was really not tragic. (I’ve tried the martyr theme with this and it fell flat, because I could not keep the glee of the good-old-days from my voice)
Which is why I am almost jealous of this class of students. Imagine this:
Septuagenarian Great Uncle: Youngsters these days! Pah! In our day ….
Kid: Huh? Telling me something grandpa? (unplugging music from ear)
Septua. Great Uncle: Grunt! Humph! You youngsters have no idea about the kind of lives we led. The perils we had to face in order to procure an education. There we would be waiting for the bus to come to the village. There would be a bus only once every 2 hours. So, if we missed it, we had to walk to school over 1.37 miles away. How long to stand for the bus?
A sound like a whistle of steam escaping a tea-pot draws the attention to the wistful sigh that the uncle just let go.
Kid: But you told us you whiled away time playing marbles at the bus-stop.
S.G.U.: Well…yes! But only while waiting for the bus. And when the bus did come, do you think we could waltz in and sit on the seats?
Kid: Why would anyone waltz into a bus, unless you are performing the bus-boarding-scene in a Broadway show?
S.G.U: *Completely ignoring the smart observation regarding buses and waltzes* Then…we had to study really hard. The homework we had was meant to make us think. Not like you – having free time to listen to music and not studying.
Kids: Really?! So you had to play with marbles while you waited and had a bit of homework, but did you have to walk on water for your homework?
That is our assignment you know?
Kid: Our assignment: Walk on Water.
Ha! I could pay to capture the expression .. Sigh!