I was born and grew up in the village. When I grew up in the 1990’s, everything was so simple. No mobile phones. No iPads. No online games. After school, we spent the days playing in the river, searching for peanuts and sugar canes in the field, or playing kites and looking for butterflies. We sometimes acted like Indian warriors when we “had” war between the “tribes.” During the full moon, we would play in the front yard singing “Padang Bulan.” Sometimes, we shared stories from the around the world. I was the one who usually telling other folks these stories. During this time, my imagination of living in somewhere out there started to grow. My curiosity to see the world grew during this time. Really, book was a magic to widely open my mind. I love to explore the world someday.
Nothing better than spending the whole day playing outside. We headed home around five pm when our moms screamed calling out our name to get home, take shower, had dinner, then went to musholla to recited holly Qur’an.
We rarely watched television. Because, we did not have enough electricity. PLN has not given service in our village. The local villager, Pak Mardi, provided people in the neighborhood with electricity derived from diesel. But it’s only in the evening. Only for lights. Electricity was a luxury.
As far as I recall, only three households had television: Pak Mardi, my gramps, and Mbah Rah. The only agenda we watched from the television each night is “Dunia Dalam Berita” broadcast from TVRI. It’s the 9 pm news. It’s like the window we saw the world. One interesting thing about not too many people having television was: you gathered with your neighbors and friends to watch the TV. Let’s say, during the boxing match, we always gathered in Pak Mardi’s house. It was quite fun to watch the game with all those people. It’s also a way that you’re not estranged with your neighbors.
Sometimes, in the Saturday evenings, we would watch some horror movies from the VHS. The most famous movies we usually watched were from Indonesian horror queen, Suzanna. Goosebumps. But watching it with your neighbors was kind of fun.
Life was simple.
We had so many limitations.
We’re not rich.
But for sure, we’re happy.
I have all fond memories during my childhood.
Time flew so slow; especially during Ramadhan. We’re counting day by day when the Idul Fitri was gonna come. We’re so excited to try out our new clothes, to get some foods which only provided during Lebaran. Our parents did not buy us clothes every month. If we’re lucky, we’d get one piece each year. It’s our best clothes during that year. The clothes that we’re going to put in every special occasion like family wedding, school picnic, etc. Same thing as food and snacks. They were luxurious things. You would only get them during Lebaran. And one more thing.. During Lebaran, kids would get gifts (like money) from the adults. It was a happy time. Wonderful moment of sharing. Like Christmas in the West. Lebaran only came once in a year.
Things are so different these days. Life has completely changed. I no longer see kids playing in the street. Everybody has television in their homes. Most households have cell-phones. Life is so easy right now. You can even rule the world from the touch of your fingers. But I’m not sure whether kids these days will have vivid memory about their childhood, like I do.