The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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               I interviewed my father, Baldev Singh, while I was home this weekend. We talked about one of his favorite moments form his childhood. This memory is a scene from his childhood school in a small village in Punjab, India. It is very near to him as it includes a deed by the collaborative effort of him and his childhood best friend. It serves as a proof of hi cleverness in his childhood and most importantly is a reminder of the conditions he was raised in. This memory is a scene from his childhood school in a small village in Punjab, India.

Karan was crouched down, kneeling into the soggy floor, which also happens to be the classroom. He was pressing down with his almighty 40 kilos on his 'Kara', a sharp metal bracelet worn for religious purposes. It acted like a drill as it was forced in circular harmonic impulsions while being pressed down by his weight. While Karan was digging and flexing his muscles, a girl sitting in her cartel inside their territory on the floor said, "Both of these boys are weirdos!". Baldev took offense as He was the second assignee of the insult. He replied, "At least we don't sit and carve shapes in the soil thinking we are Picasso.". The construction was not a daily event, but the holes did require weekly renovation.

Everyone in the class would wonder about the purpose of these holes, especially on the day of renovation, but everyone ended their contemplation period on the notion that it was due to superstitious views. Karan and Baldev had promised each other to never reveal the real purpose behind the holes. The holes were to be placed in peculiar spots each week and utilized solar power before huge corporations but in another way. They used the shadows of the high walls surrounding the school, which were created by the sun to act as a timer. As the shadow approached and eventually overlay on the first hole, you would hear the bell ring, and everyone wail "Lunchtime". As the shadow approached the second hole, it indicated the proximity of the second bell, which announced dismissal. It was a clock, without using minutes or hour but the shadow spawned by the sun.

Karan was responsible for the maintenance of the first hole. which indicated time for lunch. As Karan was routinely updating the position of his hole, the teacher came over and ordered the abolishment of the holes. "You both have 5 minutes to fill the holes in with fresh mud before I call the Principal", she screeched. They knew if they did not follow her instructions, punishment would readily follow. They insisted that they were not doing anything wrong, but she claimed they were causing muddy floors and discomfort as holes would eventually invade the floor everyone sat on. Rain would cause water to store in these holes and kids would not be able to sit. The reason these deep holes were dug rather than shallow dents was that erosion would cause the dents to vanish overnight. The teacher was curious, "Why are you both so persistent about digging these holes, you both are good students academically why can't you follow rules?". Both demanded early dismissal as a compromise to disclose the confidential information about the holes. She agreed, and they went onto tell her about their innovation. Surprisingly, she was amazed and supported their invention. They asked her why and she explained that it was an amazing contraption, which acted as a homemade dock because mechanical clocks only existed in big cities and were expensive.

Actual Use of Solar Power

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Early 1980s
Government School in Salempur Punjab, India

I interviewed my father, Baldev Singh, while I was home this weekend. We talked about one of his favorite moments form his childhood. This memory is a scene from his childhood school in a small village in Punjab, India. It is very near to him as it includes a deed by the collaborative effort of him and his childhood best friend. It serves as a proof of hi cleverness in his childhood and most importantly is a reminder of the conditions he was raised in. This memory is a scene from his childhood school in a small village in Punjab, India.

Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Jashanpreet Singh on December 5, 2018
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