It was the time when my only best friend was my brother!

When I look at the background of this photograph, I still feel the friendly breeze that draws us towards her to jump, run, and play as she dances in her rhythm. We had no clue what an indoor game was, we had no toys. We were always drawn to places where she set us free. This photo is not all about innocence, but the sense that continues to capture my imagination when everything now runs past it. It was the time when my only best friend was my brother. It was the time when we killed insects, captured helicopters (dragonflies) to tie a string around its tail to see it fly under our control, hold the long hind legs of grasshoppers before it hops. We would bury the beetles in our so called mud-houses to see if it can crawl out as we imagined fantasies of Gulliver who was always under observation and somehow got out of his captivity. We would often roll over the green grass and the lovely breeze kissed us. We always found marbles during some of our adventurous raids. We were often left to wonder who would have thrown so many marbles in different sizes sometimes in different colours. Every slab of stone attached to the soil was toppled to unravel the suppressed mystery underneath. Then the “milk bushes” in the photo, we plucked the leaves; we threw stones at the branches just to see the oozing out milk as it dripped downwards. This was no milk; it was just the white colour. It has often landed us in the nearby clinic when it accidentally messed up with our eyes. The pain was unbearable, yet we played around it all day. We would quite often have guests from our native accompanied with rectangular cardboard cartons tied with ropes. It was often coconuts or sometimes bakery stuff. When they are gone we would imitate our guests by tying ropes to several bricks resembling cartons. I guess the pleasure was just to get the knot right so that the brick is balanced when held in our delicate fingers.

When dad retired from the army, we had to look for a new place. We bid farewell to the lovely breeze. The insect world would never miss us but the milk bushes would. We had explored a vast space before we moved on. For the next 15 years, we were in a rented house. As years passed, we had everything for survival and beyond, but there was nothing we once grew up!

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