My village was not electrified until I got my university degree. Kerosene lamp was all that I used to read my lessons at night. There were no motorways around and no bus served our village. I walked to my college which was at a distance of eight km from my village. I never felt them as impediments in the pursuit of education or a joyful life. A daily walk of sixteen kms and a smoke, dust-free atmosphere helped me enjoy robust health. An irrigation canal and a few lakes around our village helped us learn swimming without spending a single pie from our pocket.
There was plenty of space around the village which was used to herd the village cattle in the morning before they were driven to the nearby hills for grazing. In the evening the same space was used as the village playground. There was no dearth of playmates as well.
My college-mates from the town used to wonder, “Up and down you walk sixteen kms. Won’t you get tired when you go home? When do you get time to study?”, they used to pity me. “No, on the contrary, when I reach home, I have to water the farm animals, put fodder in the manger and so on. Then only I feed myself and then sit down to study”, I replied with pride. “Don’t you listen to the radio?”, they asked me. “Radio? where is the question of radio when there is no electricity in my village?” My friends were aghast at my reply.
Well, to cut the story short, my friends were astonished when I got a first class in the first university examination. I was also a rank-holder in the university examination.
Coming to other advantages over my friends in the town – as the village was wrapped in total darkness after 8 p.m. , by which time the entire village retired to bed, (remember there was no radio and television hadn’t made its appearance yet even in towns) the clear sky free from dust and smoke presented a panoramic view of the celestial bodies. Being a student of mathematics with astronomy as a subsidiary subject, I could identify all the first magnitude stars in the sky. A calm and cool night helped me devote my attention in my study.
Arriving at the city armed with a government job, I realized almost all my colleagues also came from humble village surroundings, where as the sub-staff, like the helpers and drivers, mostly came from the city. So, being born in a village is no impediment for your upward movement.