The sun was a big, deep orange, harmless ball and the breeze was blowing gently. I looked at my hands, they were covered with mud and the small finger of my left hand was bleeding a bit. It hardly mattered at that moment. I was enjoying being there, I was enjoying the sweat sliding down my neck, I was enjoying the incessant deep voices shouting into those police-type speakers, “kaatiye bhaisaab kaatiye. Rukiye mat, kaatte rahiye.” I was enjoying the relentless, pleasant “khach khach khach” sounds all around me.
I moved my sickle around the wheat stalks alongwith hundreds of women and girls all around me. As I removed them and kept them aside, I could see the bugs and the beetles scurrying about; shocked and annoyed at the sudden exposure to the sunlight. The fields were swarming with people. Thousands of men, women and children; so many hands moving together. Some were collecting the stalks and some were tying them up into bundles. It is uplifting to see so many individuals working together, selflessly, for no personal reasons; but just because they want to, because it is noble. The students, the teachers, the uncles, the aunts, the cousins, the friends, the relatives; everybody working together trying to accomplish one task. The vast expanses of fields which were covered with a thick fur coat of golden brown wheat stalks not so long ago were suddenly getting bald, at an alarmingly rapid pace. I looked over my shoulder, to see the patch I had cleared and smiled proudly. It was humbly satisfying.
I was humming the tune of one of my favourite songs and it shockingly and suddenly reminded me of a poem we had in our course in the sixth standard. It was called ‘The Solitary Reaper’ by William Wordsworth.
“Whate’er the theme the maiden sang,
As if her song could have no ending,
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending;-
I listen’d, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.”
And then I saw Him, working at the far end of the field. Cutting, collecting, keeping, never stopping, never tiring. I felt a bubble of respect and pride rise inside my chest. Soon, the sun was beating down fast on my back and my hands had started to get blisters. I ignored it and went over to greet a friend. The work was almost over and people had begun to relax, they sat beneath the trees and talked, while some walked around, laughing and talking. Only the task of collecting all the stalks and tying them into huge bundles was left which is usually done by the gents. Their spirit of camaraderie blew me away. When all the wheat was finally cut, they suddenly charged out of nowhere, shouting and hooting and began to tie the bundles, carried them over their shoulders and loaded them on the trucks with tremendous efficiency. This is what we call the undying ‘DB spirit’. They were charged up, eager, happy, blessed to do the work, to do seva.
After a couple of hours of using the sickle I was spent and I just sat, right there on the freshly shaven field, amidst the beetles and bugs and looked around me. It was a beautiful day. Everyone seemed so happy. I sighed contentedly and moved my fingers lightly through the mud. It was glittering in the sunlight. Even my little wound had covered itself up; it was hiding somewhere on my mud covered fingers, as if closing its eyes and smiling. I felt my sweat evaporating as the breeze blew across my face. I was close to nature. I felt humble. I felt glad to be alive.
I had never felt more human before.