This is the story of a small boy.
This qualifies as a fairy tale as this small boy was always happy. It would be hence worthwhile to take a journey into his magical homeland.
There lived this small boy in a nondescript town in a nondescript country. He lived with his parents and grandparents along with his six siblings in a small house.
No one had separate rooms in their house except his father and mother. Even that room was too small to be described even as a room. Probably the room never existed in the original plan and was only concocted out of sheer necessity.
Walls inside the house was an anathema even as an idea.
All of them slept in various parts of the house, a pattern had developed over the years, no one remembers who founded it if at all anyone took that trouble.
All of them took their dinner together; at the same time each day. Breakfast was in batches, out of necessity and lunch was carried from home.
In small uninsulated plastic containers. The lunch consisted of only one dish.
The household had a radio. It was turned on for news, songs and to follow the commentary if there was a sports event going on.
The working hours of the school was strange too. (In the first place the school was a standalone big building resembling more a medieval castle with a huge playground in the middle.) The school operated between 1000 hours and 1700 hours with a lunch break of one hour. The children usually finished their lunch in the first fifteen minutes and played for the remaining 45 minutes before resuming the afternoon session, sweaty and smelling.
After returning from school, the boy left almost immediately; back to the same playground.
Here his friends and he played a multitude of games.
In this town people actually played games.
In the sense, they were actually present, used their skills, limbs, ran, jumped, fell down, hurt themselves, got physical, burnt calories, torn their dresses (not so frequently) and returned home really physically tired when daylight faded.
Most of the games would be difficult to comprehend for today’s kids. (Then that is what a fairy tale is all about, right? – it stretched one’s imagination to visualize them and often would end up looking ridiculous) Here is how some of the games could be described.
There was one game in which two cylindrical wooden sticks were used. One was longer and the other shorter. The shorter one tapered off at both ends to a sharp point. The shorter piece was drag flicked from a starting point (a long depression in the ground). This was thrown back by the other player and later was generally scattered to all parts of the ground by the first player using the long stick. The rules were rather complicated. No manuals were available. Improvisation was the norm. A complicated scoring technique decided who was the winner at the end of the day. No written records were available. For some strange reason, the kids found the complicated game rather entertaining.
There was yet another in which a large group of boys ran around randomly all over the ground while one player threw a tennis ball on someone else’s back. If one happens to be close by, the contact of the ball on one’s back really hurt a lot. Sometimes the ball was soaked wet to impart greater pain. Anybody could pick the ball and hit anyone else. Strangely there was no winner at the end of the game. Ever. The soaking of the ball was akin to Messala riding his chariot with blades on the hub. But no one cared.
There were other impromptu games; Long jump in a make-do sand pit. High jump using boys of various height as targets to be cleared, instead of the traditional bar supported by two poles.
An almost non-describable game called tops.
Another one involving marbles.
The boy ended up playing almost all the games in the course of the evening and returned home totally exhausted and happy. It was an equivalent of taking part in a decathlon; each day of the year.
The game routine changed on the weekends. The boy was out the whole day; from morning till night. Lunch was often skipped.
As was mentioned earlier, the evening full of games culminated in an almost strange event of full family dining together.
Every single day.
Studying pattern and the terrifying event that is known as exams in today’s contemporary world passed by without as much as causing a ripple on the serenity of home and life.
The boy lived happily ever after!