I always love how Charles Dickens opened his novel of A Tale of Two Cities with these lines:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…
Our journey offers too many beginnings and endings, obstacles and aids, struggles and thrives, defeats and celebrations. And if we look towards our inner self, we juggle between love and hate, happiness and sorrow, faith and worry, hope and despair among other mixture of emotions.
Can you imagine a world without salsa? Or tabasco sauce, harissa, sriracha, paprika or chili powder?
I read that statement in a feature article from Saudi Aramco World magazine, which arrived in our mailbox this morning. Then I paused for a second, and thought about it – Do I really love hot and spicy foods? What would it be like to have no chilis to spice-up our taste buds? I know some friends who really are against anything spicy, no matter how you bribe them with lots of wonderful gifts. They have never dared to, or yet they swear for their entire life not to dare.
Spotted dark skin of green
In my hand you stand so keen;
But don’t wish you can stay still
For here’s my knife ready to peel.
Unripe they may say is what you are,
Yet hundred ways for you to prepare;
Crunchy yet so sour for taste
For others to salivate.
Oh! Let me take this chance to peep
Even in distance I cannot keep;
A pungent, tempting flavor filled the place
Yet mild, and sweet distinctive feel to replace.
Today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo was to write a poem to specifically describe something in terms of at least three of the five senses. So guess what do I have on the plate?
Scorching sun. Open Sea. They are nature’s gift of abundance. Waves and splashes. Makeshift boat. They are children’s greatest delight. “All in a day’s work”, shall we say or “Children are always children. Play is what they deserve”. Either way, what do you see?
Upon looking at the photo, have it crossed your mind that they were enjoying this moment of play time? Have it dawned on you that they were courageously racing to find out who could swim fast? Have you thought how deep these children can dive? What do you see?
This sight along the sea ports is very common in our country. The sea travelers are these children’s hero. They are the ones that have been looked up to. Flipping coins toward the air, or tossing them out of the children’s way, surely you’ll see a delightful act of swimmers and divers, trained as the call of nature. The sun is their confidant. As the tossed coins landed and sunk in the water, the rays of the sunshine reflects the light as it hits the coin. And whose heart could not be touched seeing that youngest child, sitting in that makeshift boat, floating just in-front of you. It’s their way of living. How do you feel?
They belong to a tribal group called Badjao or sea gypsies. Living in houses on stilts, the Badjaos know no other source of living but the sea. With dwindling catches due to overfishing in the area, the sea gypsies are left with nothing. Once they were in the mountains, but because of development projects like large-scale mining, and agribusiness plantations, this tribe, and many others have been marginalized and are now deprived of sources for primary production, livelihood and food security. They have been deprived in using their own land. Government had done nothing much to aid these groups, but re-iterating their seem to be “fictionary” initiatives. Non-profit organizations, in connection with local missionaries are backing these tribes to get their ancestral lands back. While that belongs to an unknown future, what can they do?
These Badjao children are not playing in that beautiful sea, with their innovative idea of a makeshift boat. Their skills are developed by their need of survival. For them, it’s all in a day’s work.